The Fourth of July is fast approaching and the state fire marshal is pleading with people to take common-sense measures to avoid injuries and spot fires.
The biggest piece of advice is to make sure that if you buy fireworks for personal use in Missouri, that they are legal, sold by people who have one of the 1,255 permits issued by the state this year. Missouri State Fire Marshal Tim Bean says you have the right to ask to see any vendor’s permit.
The feds recently issued four separate recalls for close to 38,000 Chinese-made fireworks, saying they are overloaded with pyrotechnics. Find out more on the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Missouri has no laws about how old you have to be to handle fireworks, but Fire Marshal Tim Bean says children should be especially careful, particularly around sparklers. They burn at more than 1,000 degrees, and cause the most injuries, especially to children under age five.
When they sparkle, Bean explained, they have a spray that comes off of ’em and a lot of times, the kids freak out, or they grab it after it goes out. And the metal is still hot and they get a hand burn from that.
In 2018, federal statistics showed 9,100 people ended up in the emergency room with injuries due to fireworks. One 18-year- old man died after launching a mortar from a tube on top of his head.
One piece of good news, Bean says, is the fire risk from dry brush is down this year because the state has been inundated with rain.
Below are 10 fireworks safety tips you should use and teach to your kids.
- Fireworks packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays – avoid buying.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially with sparklers.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire and to douse used fireworks before discarding in trash.
- Never allow young children to play or ignite fireworks.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never place a part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.