The City of Nacogdoches is gearing up for the annual July 4th Holiday. Fireworks represent a hallmark of July 4th celebrations, but consumer fireworks are extremely dangerous, causing thousands of injuries and fires each year. That’s why Nacogdoches Fire & Rescue encourages the public attend this year’s Freedom Fest, set for Friday, July 4th from 5 to 9 p.m. in Festival Park. Professionals will be on hand to bring you the largest fireworks display in East Texas.
“Each Fourth of July season, we see tragic accidents and an uptick in fires caused by consumer fireworks,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association. “Even sparklers, which are often thought of as harmless enough for children to hold, burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause significant injuries.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2012 Annual Fireworks Report U.S. hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks-related injuries in 2012. In the month around July 4th, almost three out of five (57 percent) of the fireworks injuries were burns, while almost one-fifth (18 percent) were contusions or lacerations. Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone accounted for one-quarter (25 percent) of the emergency room fireworks injuries.
Young people pay a particularly high price for fireworks. During the same July period, the risk of injury was highest among those ages 15-24, followed by children under 10. Three out of ten people (30 percent) injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. Males accounted for three-quarters (74 percent) of the injuries overall.
On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire. In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires resulting in 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. The vast majority of injuries occur without a fire starting.
“Knowing the harm fireworks inflict each year, particularly on young people, we urge everyone to leave fireworks to the professionals, who are trained to safely put on spectacular displays. It is by far the safest way to enjoy them,” said Carli.
Consumer fireworks are never allowed inside the City Limits of Nacogdoches. City code prohibits possession, sale and discharge of all fireworks that are not part of an authorized, permitted, professional display. The Fire Marshal’s Office and Nacogdoches Police Department respond to dozens of calls each Independence Day for fireworks related complaints. Fines can be as high as $2,000 per occurrence for violations. If you do plan on using fireworks outside the city limits this July 4th, please be careful.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in the hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season:
· Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
· Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
· Fireworks should only be used outdoors, outside the City limits.
· Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
· Know your fireworks. Read the caution label before igniting.
· Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
· Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
· Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
· Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
· Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
· Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department
And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers:
· Always remain standing while using sparklers.
· Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
· Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.
· Never throw sparklers.
· Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.
· Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.
For more information on fire safety tips or questions about the July 4th holiday please visit www.ci.nacogdoches.tx.us or “Like” City of Nacogdoches- City Government on facebook, or #Cityofnac on twitter.