Fireworks Tips for a Safe Fourth of July
The Baytown Fire Department discourages individual use of fireworks, however if your Independence Day celebrations include fireworks, the Baytown Fire Department encourages you to stay safe and follow the law.
“Possession or discharge of fireworks within the city limits of Baytown, or within 1,000 feet of the city limits, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2, 000,” said Baytown Fire Chief Shon Blake. “Fireworks stands are located outside the enforcement zone, so any use of fireworks should take place even farther out.”
Blake adds that you should make sure you have the landowner’s permission before any celebrating begins.
11 ways to be safe with fireworks
If fireworks will be part of your Fourth of July celebration, please follow these safety guidelines:
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
• Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
• Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don't realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
• Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light one item at a time then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
The National Fire Protection Association discourages the use of consumer fireworks and, instead, encourages people to enjoy public displays conducted by trained professionals whenever possible. Some facts from the NFPA:
In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries. Thirty percent of the injuries were to the extremities and twenty-one % were to the eyes.
Forty percent of the victims of fireworks in 2010 were under the age of 15. The risk of fireworks injury was at least two-and-a-half times higher for children ages 10-14 as for the general population.
Sparklers accounted for 1,200 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2010.
Fireworks caused an estimated 1,800 fires reported to fire departments in 2009. These fires resulted in $38 million in direct property damage.
For more information, contact the Baytown Fire Department, at 281-420-7144.