As public fireworks shows are cancelled across the country, Gainesville Fire Rescue (GFR) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourage our neighbors from using consumer fireworks. GFR recognizes the absence of public shows could lead to an increase in the use of consumer fireworks. However, safe and creative alternatives are encouraged when celebrating.
Every July 4th thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.
In 2018 fireworks caused:
- Five deaths
- 18,500 total fires
- 1,900 structure fires
- Tens of millions of dollars in direct property damage (NFPA.org)
In addition to the harm consumer fireworks inflict to life and property, it is important to consider the additional burden placed first responders and emergency room staff during this time when the healthcare system is already stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like wearing masks, avoiding dangerous activities like using consumer fireworks is a simple way to safeguard community health and preserve healthcare system capacity for those in need. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), US hospitals treated an estimated 9,100 fireworks injuries during the month around July 4th.
Fireworks Safety Tips:
- Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix
- Use sparklers and other legal novelties on a flat, hard surface. Do not light them on grass.
- Use sparklers in an open area. Keep children and pets at least 30 feet away.
- Light only one item at a time and never attempt to re-light a “dud.”
- Don’t use any unwrapped items or items that may have been tampered with.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on-hand for emergencies. It’s a good idea to drop used sparklers in a bucket of water.
- Only purchase fireworks from licensed vendors.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never carry sparklers in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
To view a video on fireworks safety, go here.