Annually, healthcare practitioners and public safety officials warn consumers about the dangers of fireworks that can result in injury, death and destruction of property; they emphasize the best and safe way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional fireworks show, yet, each year, thousands of fireworks-related injuries occur.
Should you choose to purchase fireworks, Acting System Chief Tim Keen of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue System recommends purchasing from a fireworks stand that has been inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal's Office. All stands in Prince William County are properly permitted to sell fireworks displayed.
June is National Fireworks Safety Month and continues through July 4th. In an effort to assist residents in preparation for the Fourth of July and additional festivities held throughout the summer, the Fire Marshal's Office suggests the following safety tips:
- Fireworks should only be ignited by an adult.
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors in an open space clear of spectators, buildings, vehicles, debris and flammable materials or 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.
- Keep spectators a safe distance away from permissible fireworks at a minimum of 25 feet for ground items.
- 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.
- DO NOT place used fireworks in combustible trash cans or bags.
- 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.
- Pets may be frightened by the noise and lights of fireworks; keep pets inside or away from the area when in use.
These are just a few tips to keep you, your loved ones and your property safe when fireworks are in use. Although the County permits the use of some fireworks, restrictions are applied for good reason. To view the list of 2019 permissible fireworks, visit the Fire Marshal's Office website at www.pwcgov.org/fire, and click on Fireworks.
Illegal Fireworks in Prince William County without approved permits is defined as:
"Fireworks" means any firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket, or other substance or object, of whatever form or construction, that contains any explosive or inflammable compound or substance, and is intended, or commonly known as fireworks, and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air.
If you are in possession of illegal fireworks, please contact the Prince William County Fire Marshal's Office for disposal at 703-792-6360. DO NOT throw them in the garbage! Turning in illegal fireworks will not result in any fines or summons, and no questions will be asked.
No matter how breathtaking fireworks are or how easy they appear to use, they are potential fire starters. Why don't you leave fireworks to the professionals by enjoying one of the many larger aerial fireworks shows in the District, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area by visiting https://www.nbcwashington.com/entertainment/the-scene/Your-DC-Area-Fourth-of-July-Fireworks-Finder-2019-Edition-510762651.html.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association www.nfpa.org, the National Council on Fireworks Safety www.nsc.org, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) www.cpsc.gov.