During June, Fireworks Safety Month, and continuing through the latter part of July (June 18th – July 18th), fireworks-related injuries peak; it’s during this brief period, 73 percent of fireworks-related injuries occur. In 2010, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency departments treated an estimated 8,600 fireworks-related injuries. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 40 percent of fireworks-related injuries while children and young adults under the age of 20 comprised the largest number of fireworks-related injuries (53 percent) during this time period.
In an attempt to reduce the number of fireworks-related injuries and deaths, public information and public education are vital to the community. The Fire Marshal’s Office, a division within the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue, has initiated a Fireworks Enforcement Campaign to stop possession and use of illegal fireworks. The campaign’s slogan, Illegal Fireworks, “If You Light It, We’ll Write It!” Leave Fireworks to the Professionals is a means by which the Department is able to educate the community about the dangers of illegal fireworks while informing them about Prince William’s zero tolerance for possession and use of illegal fireworks. This year as in the past, Fire Marshals will be teaming up with Police for their annual fireworks safety initiative and deploying personnel throughout the County in an effort to prevent injury and fires due to illegal or unsafe use of fireworks. In addition, the team will write summons to individuals who possess and/or light illegal fireworks and will confiscate any and all illegal fireworks found in their possession. In Prince William County, the discharge of illegal fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $2,500.00 and or up to one year in jail.
Safety experts agree that the best way to protect your loved-ones from fireworks-related injuries or worse is to not use fireworks. Numerous professional organizations often provide fireworks displays for public enjoyment during the holiday and throughout the year. Check your local newspaper or web site for listings of fireworks displays in your area.
Should you choose to use legal fireworks, the Fire Marshal’s Office would like to help you celebrate safely by suggesting the following safety tips:
- Fireworks should only be used under adult supervision.
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors on a driveway, sidewalk or other fire-resistant surface.
- Remember, fires are caused by careless handling of fireworks in areas exposed to sparks or live fireworks.
- Never ignite fireworks during high winds where flying sparks can start a fire.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case sparks start a fire.
- Be sure children around fireworks know to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches on fire.
- Deposit sparklers in a metal container as they may be stepped on while hot or lost in the grass and stepped on while playing.
- Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never try to re-ignite fireworks that malfunction or fail to go off.
- Do not wear loose clothing when using fireworks.
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
For more information about selecting and using legal fireworks, or if you would like to safely dispose of illegal fireworks, contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-792-6360, or visit our website at www.pwcgov.org/fire
. Turning in illegal fireworks will not
result in any fines or summons, and no questions
will be asked.