Celebrate Independence Day Safely With These Fireworks Tips
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue urges citizens to leave fireworks to the professionals. Each year across the United States, firework-related incidents are responsible for multiple injuries, fires, and significant property loss.
“Sparklers are the biggest danger to children,” says Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jim Sideras. “A tip temperature at the end of the sparkler reaches 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause severe burns. Kids and fireworks are a dangerous combination.”
The use of fireworks within Sioux Falls city limits is illegal. However, many of us will travel out of town for Independence Day celebrations that may include fireworks. With that in mind, following are some tips to help keep your holiday safe:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Use only fireworks purchased from a licensed retailer; homemade or altered manufactured fireworks are not only dangerous but also illegal.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Light fireworks only on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned (“duds”).
- Have an extinguishing means (garden hose, water buckets, sand, or fire extinguisher) readily available for use should a fire occur.
- If a burn to the skin does occur, cool the burn with lots of cool water and seek medical attention.
The City of Sioux Falls prohibits the use of fireworks within the city limits with the exception of sparklers, snakes and other fireworks that do not have an audible report, projectile or launching component. If a police officer observes fireworks being discharged, he or she can issue an immediate citation, which is a $95 fine.
Emergency departments treat an average of 9,600 people each year for firework-related injuries in the United States, and eight people will die from their injuries during the month around Independence Day.
- 40 percent of these injuries occur among children ages 14 years and younger.
- Males sustain about 76 percent of all injuries.
- Hands (33 percent), eyes (21 percent), and the head, face, and ears (21 percent) are the parts of the body most frequently injured.
- More than half of the injuries involve burns (62 percent).
- Injuries were most commonly associated with firecrackers (17 percent), sparklers (17 percent), and rockets (14 percent).
For more information from Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, visit www.siouxfalls.org/fire or follow us on facebook.com/siouxfallsfire or twitter.com/siouxfallsfire.