Fireworks Safety Tips Given

The long Fourth of July holiday is this weekend, and the South Carolina State Fire Marshal is reminding citizens to put safety first when participating in any fireworks activities.
“Independence Day is a time to reflect on our country’s history. Many choose to watch the ‘rockets’ red glare’ by using consumer fireworks or attending a professional fireworks display,” State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones said. “Every celebration should begin and end safely. We don’t want a happy occasion to turn into an emergency room visit.”
South Carolina law prohibits fireworks from being sold to anyone younger than 16 years old. For those choosing to use consumer fireworks, the State Fire Marshal suggests these safety tips:
• Observe local laws. If unsure, whether it is legal to use fireworks, check with local officials.
• Observe local weather conditions. Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass, and trees.
Dry weather can make it easier for fireworks to start a fire.
• Buy from permitted fireworks retailers.
• Use common sense. Always read and follow the directions on each firework.

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
• Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.
• Ensure people and pets are out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Light one firework at a time and keep a safe distance.
• Throw away the duds. Put used fireworks in a bucket of water; keep a garden hose on hand.

• Carry fireworks in your pocket.
• Give fireworks to small children. Sparklers, for example, burn at 2,000 degrees.
• Point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers.
• Re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.
• Experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.
• Place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
“Across the state, there are also permitted professional fireworks displays available to South Carolinians to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday,” Jones said.
“Residents can consult their local fire officials for displays in their area.”
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging residents to practice lifesaving safety precautions when handling fireworks so they can protect themselves and their children during Fourth of July festivities. While fireworks are a source of fun and fellowship, they can also cause serious injury and death if not used properly.

“Preventable injuries and deaths occur each year due to the mishandling of fireworks,” said Dr. Virginie Daguise, Bureau Director of DHEC’s Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. “We don’t want to see families’ lives changed forever because moments that were supposed to be full of fun went terribly wrong. We urge South Carolinians to exercise caution and stay safe while enjoying the Fourth.”

A 2021 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that injuries related to fireworks increased by 25 percent between 2006 and 2021. The report also shows nine deaths and 11,500 emergency room-treated injuries occurred in 2021. About 8,500, or 74 percent of the injuries, occurred in the one-month span surrounding July 4. About 3,680, or 32 percent of the visits, were due to burns.

Injuries last year were most common among young adults ages 20 to 24. About 1,500 of the injuries that resulted in a trip to the emergency room involved firecrackers and 1,100 involved sparklers.

The CPSC offers tips on how to stay safe when using fireworks:
-Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
-Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
-Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
-Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device.
-Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
-Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
-After fireworks have stopped burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water.
-Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Visit DHEC and the National Council on Fireworks Safety’s pages for more information on staying safe during Fourth of July Weekend.

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