Fireworks Safety Tips
Thousands of Americans are injured while using fireworks on the Fourth of July. The only safe way to view fireworks is to attend a professional show, according to the National Fire Protection Association. However, this year many area firework shows have been canceled due to COVID-19. During the July 4th Weekend 2019, the Savannah Fire Department responded to 31 fires. Three of those fires were known to have been caused by fireworks. The Savannah Fire Department believes it is important to inform the public of the dangers associated with consumer fireworks and provide them with safety tips as well as safe alternatives.
- The State of Georgia permits the purchase and use of consumer fireworks, which include everything sold in Georgia retail stores - from bottle rockets to firecrackers and sparklers.
- Fireworks can be used any day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., unless prohibited by local noise ordinances. On January 1, the last Saturday and Sunday in May, July 3, July 4, the first Monday in September, and December 31 of each year, fireworks can be used 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Additionally, fireworks can be used from midnight to 1 a.m. on January 1.
- State law bans the use of fireworks on roads and highways and within 100 yards of a hospital, nursing home or gas station. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources prohibits the use of fireworks in state parks.
- More than 19,500 reported fires are started by fireworks annually
- Burns account for 44% of the 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in the month around July 4
- Half of the 9,100 fireworks injuries seen at U.S. emergency rooms in 2018 involved the hands, fingers, or legs
- Children age 10–14 suffered the most fireworks injuries in the U.S. in 2018. More than 36% of victims were under 15
- Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of fireworks injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms
- Use glow sticks instead of sparklers - Sparklers burn at 1200 degrees. Compare that to the 900 degree melting point of glass, the 575 degree burning point of wood, 350 degree baking temperature for cake and the 212 degree boiling point of water
- Use homemade and party store noisemakers instead of firecrackers - 34% of the 9,100 people treated for fireworks injuries in U.S. emergency rooms in 2018 suffered damage to the eye or other parts of the head.
- Host an outdoor movie night instead of a fireworks display – In 2018 fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in the U.S.
- Use red, white and blue silly string as a fireworks alternative – Fireworks ignited 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires in the U.S. in 2018
- Host a patriotic costume party and craft competition with friends and family – in 2018 fireworks caused five deaths and $105 million in direct property damage in the U.S.
Source: National Fire Protection Agency & the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Fireworks Safety Tips:
- Read cautionary labels, directions and performance descriptions
- Assign a responsible adult to supervise all firework activities
- Never give fireworks to children
- Do not light fireworks while consuming alcohol
- Wear safety glasses
- Light one firework at a time on a flat, stable, fire-proof surface; away from buildings, vehicles & flammable materials
- Never relight a dud. Wait 20 minutes & soak duds in water
- Keep a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
- Soak spent fireworks in water and dispose of them in a metal trash can
- Don’t wear bulky, loose fitting clothing
- Light fireworks using a long-tipped lighter or sawdust covered bamboo sticks called punks