Fireworks Safety Tips

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

June 27, 2005

With Fourth of July looming, fireworks are a hot item. There are safety measures in place, but it is up to the consumer to use common sense.

"Sparklers, smoke balls, little snakes, and snap pops are just the usuals," said salesman Yoseph Asmellash.

Fireworks season is upon us and there are plenty to choose from. However, with those choices, come the dangers associated with them.

"They are fun and they are pretty. The big thing is serious injuries such as burns and eye injuries and even some deaths have been caused by fireworks," said Linda Johnson from Charlottesville Fire Department.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 15 people die each year nationwide from fireworks related incidents. In the state of Virginia, fireworks are closely regulated.

"Explosives such as black cats and M80's--those are illegal as well as projectiles like traditional bottle rockets," said salesman Nick Liberty.

As it comes closer to the Fourth, stands like one along Route 29 become quite busy. While many of the most dangerous fireworks are illegal in Virginia, there is always the potentiality for injury.

Area fire departments recommend several steps to keep safe while handling fireworks. They recommend all children should be supervised by an adult. Never hold fireworks in your hands when lighting them and do not relight fireworks that don't ignite. Dealers recommend you get things that are age specific.

"A lot of the safer, more tame things, [like] sparklers and morning glories tend to be really popular too," Liberty said.

The key to a good time is safety first.

"Bottom line is we want you to be safe. If you are going to be able to use fireworks where they are legal, mainly follow the manufacturers' recommendations," Johnson said.

The Fourth of July is also the most dangerous holiday when it comes to alcohol-related deaths, even more so than St. Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve, and Superbowl Sunday combined.

Check out our Happy Fourth of July feature for more firework safety tips, and other Fourth of July information.

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