On Thursday, May 23, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. officials from Prince William County and the region will conduct a grilling & fireworks safety news conference/cookout and safety demonstration at Pfitzner Stadium, Home of the Potomac Nationals Baseball Club in Woodbridge, VA. The event will provide the media an opportunity to view legal and illegal fireworks and safe and unsafe grilling practices. Area Fire Chiefs, Fire Marshals & Law Enforcement officials will be on hand to address the dangers associated with the use of grilling fires and illegal fireworks, and to show how these traditional summer time activities are mishandled and improperly used. Fire officials from throughout the region have been invited and many will be available for comment and answer any questions after the demonstrations. The Virginia State Police Bomb Squads and the area explosive ordinance technicians will also be on hand as a precaution during the live demonstration of explosive firework devices. This year’s theme, leading up to and through the Fourth of July Holiday, is “Leave Fireworks to the Professionals.” Each year, locally and across the U.S., people of all ages are seriously injured by fireworks – legal and illegal. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 83% of fireworks injuries treated in emergency rooms involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use. Fire officials are encouraging people that the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to not use fireworks and visit the various public displays throughout the region at counties, cities, towns, parks and other venues. (Check with your locality.)“You Light It, We’ll Write It!”During the 4th of July weekend, Prince William County Fire Marshals and Police Officers will patrol the region looking for and confiscating illegal fireworks. Violators will be charged with the offence and will be required to appear in court. In Virginia, the use of illegal fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor in which a person could receive jail time of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $2,500.00. 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. “The Thrill of the Grill – Don’t let it Burn You!”Our theme for this year’s safe grilling campaign is “The Thrill of the Grill – Don’t let it Burn you!” Be sure to use safe grilling practices as the peak months for grilling fires approach – June and July. Gas grills constitute a higher risk, having been involved in an annual average of 7,100 home fires in 2006-2010, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,200 home fires.In 2006-2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,600 homes and outside fires. These 8,600 fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage. More than one-quarter (28%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen. Flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in almost half of home outdoor grill fires. In almost half (46%) of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, 53% were outside gas grills, and 26% were gas grill structure fires; the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.