Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
July 2, 2013
With the 4th of July only days away, it’s time for all of us to remember the importance of fireworks safety. In the United States, 200 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the days surrounding this celebration.
Because a single spark is all that’s necessary to ignite a fire capable of risking the lives and property of family, friends, and neighbors, we should carefully select the location for a fireworks display. Anyone choosing to shoot fireworks should avoid open fields and unmowed areas. Never shoot fireworks over homes, trees, or other areas with natural ground cover.
As an additional precaution, you should always have a bucket of water and hose available nearby in case of an accidental fire. Also, the Fire Department recommends soaking all used fireworks in water before disposal.
When lighting the fuse on a firework, you should never place any part of your body directly over the device, and never try to re-light or pick up a firework that failed to go off. Forty-six percent of all reported injuries are to the hands and fingers, and many are due to people investigating a device that did not fully ignite.
Parents should never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, and older children should always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, including the use of sparklers. Seventeen percent of all reported firework injuries are due to burns associated with using sparklers, which burn at temperatures of around 2,000 degrees.
In Independence, City Code makes it unlawful for any person to possess, store, handle, or use, within the city bottle rockets, aerial missiles, sparkler bombs, or altered/combined fireworks. Fireworks within the city limits of Independence are only permitted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 3 and July 5; and between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight July 4.
City Code also makes it unlawful to use, explode, detonate, or shoot fireworks from a motorized vehicle or throw any ignited firework into, at, or under a motorized vehicle or near any person or animal.
Any citizen with an inquiry about general fireworks use and safety, can call 325-7123 during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays), and they will be directed to a Fire Department representative who can provide information or answer their question.
Anyone who witnesses unsafe fireworks use that is not immediately life threatening should contact the Fire Department immediately. During normal business hours call 325-7123. After hours or for an emergency, call 911.
Information provided by the Independence Fire Department and the United States Product Safety Commission.