Celebrate Safely this 4th of July
CONCORD, NH – With the summer months and the 4th of July quickly approaching, the New Hampshire Department of Safety - Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to encourage each citizen living in, or visiting New Hampshire to “Celebrate Safely” when using Permissible Consumer Fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on Independence Day in a typical year, more fires are reported across the country than any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires. In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 fires nationwide. 14,000 outside fires, 1,400 structure fires and 200 vehicle fires. Those fires resulted in an estimated 30 civilian injuries and $21 million dollars in direct property damage.
On June 24, 2014, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) released its annual Fireworks Report. This report highlighted that there were 11,400 firework related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2013, an increase of 2,700 injuries from what was reported in 2012. 7,400 of the reported injuries occurred during a 30-day period from June 21, 2013 to July 21, 2013.
Burn injuries accounted for an estimated 4,600 injuries, or 62%, while contusions and lacerations accounted for an estimated 1,600 injuries, or 22%. 40% of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. The most common place for an injury is to the head, face, ears or eyes, which account for an estimated 38%. Injuries to the hand are a close second, with an estimated 36%. For children under the 5 years old, sparklers accounted for 79% of the injuries treated in emergency rooms.
There are many ways that you can protect yourself, your family, and your property from unnecessary injury or damage. The safest way to celebrate any holiday or event with fireworks is to attend a public fireworks display sponsored by your local community or other organizations. These displays are set-up and fired by trained, licensed professional pyrotechnicians. These displays are also inspected by public safety officials to ensure that the pyrotechnicians are setting up and firing the display in accordance with local, state, and national standards for safety.
If you intend on celebrating with permissible fireworks (those legal consumer firework devices sold in New Hampshire licensed retail stores), check with your local fire department to ensure that the possession and display of permissible fireworks is permitted in your community. Follow all local ordinances, including ones for noise. Set family boundaries, and only adults 21 years of age or older are legally allowed to purchase, possess, and display permissible fireworks by the state law. Make sure you read all safety information that is provided to you, and/or the information that comes on each device. Also, remember that summer weather conditions make grasses and other types of vegetation dry and vulnerable to fire; be aware of the forest fire weather conditions in your community.
Supervision is paramount in keeping children safe, fireworks should not be readily available to tempt the curiosity of children, and should be stored in a secured location to prohibit their access. Remember, even Sparklers can cause significant injury. The tip of a Sparkler can burn at temperatures above 1,200 degrees. Water boils at 212 degrees, wood burns at 600 degrees, and glass can begin to melt at 900 degrees.
Celebrating safely also involves the “three B’s”:
“Be Prepared” before lighting fireworks.
~ Purchase only New Hampshire Permissible Fireworks, available at licensed retail stores throughout the state.
~ Purchase ONLY the quantity that you will use.
~ Permissible fireworks can ONLY be displayed on property that you own, or have written permission from the landowner.
~ Contact your local fire department to check the daily forest fire weather forecast, or if outside burning has been
~ Have a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby in case of an unanticipated fire.
~ Create a clear level surface to display your permissible fireworks away from things that can burn, or easily ignite.
~ Call 911 immediately in the event of a fire or medical emergency, don’t wait!
“Be Safe” when lighting fireworks.
~ Adults 21 years of age or older are the only ones allowed to possess, and display permissible fireworks.
~ Always wear eye, hearing protection, and gloves.
~ Always read and follow the safety directions provided on each firework device or package and ask the store for additional information.
~ Light only one device at a time and move away quickly.
~ Keep all spectators at a safe distance.
~ Display permissible fireworks only outdoors, away from anything that can burn, or easily ignite.
~ Be considerate of your neighbors, family pets and the environment. You can be held liable for damage to another’s property.
“Be responsible” when finished.
~ Clean up all debris when you are finished.
~ Devices that do not fire or discharge once they are lit are very dangerous; if a firework device does not fire or discharge, keep away for at least 15 minutes or more, then ensure that it has been filled with water, or placed in a bucket of water.
~ Always make sure that unused fireworks, matches and lighters are secured and out of the reach of children.
Please, “Be Prepared”, “Be Safe”, and “Be Responsible” when using Permissible Consumer Fireworks, and celebrate safely this Fourth of July. To learn more about a community fireworks display near you contact your local fire department for available dates and times. For a list of community restrictions, please visit our website at: http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/firesafety/special-operations/fireworks/documents/permissible-fireworks-community-restrictions.pdf
For The Kids
Parents and Kids, please visit these colorful interactive sites to see activities, games, and stories about fire safety: