PREVENTION IS THE KEY TO AVOIDING FIREWORKS-RELATED FIRES AND INJURIES
An Important Safety Message from Firefighters
Firecrackers and fireworks are a part of many Independence Day celebrations. In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, it’s important to remember the potential hazards associated with the festivities. To that end, Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services firefighters encourage the community to leave fireworks displays to the professionals. Sparks from fireworks can ignite fires, endangering nearby people and structures.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries and cause nearly half of the total estimated injuries for children under 5 years of age. Hands, head, neck and eyes are the most frequently injured body parts and untrained individuals may experience severe injuries like third-degree burns, permanent scars and even blindness.
Fire officials urge residents to instead view public fireworks display, which are conducted by licensed, trained and permitted pyrotechnicians, and to observe social distancing and other guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Public fireworks display sites are approved through an application process and inspected by the Fire Marshal’s Office in Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services’ Community Risk Reduction Division.
For those planning to use consumer-type fireworks as part of their celebration, follow these safety tips to help everyone have a safe and fun Independence Day:
- Purchase fireworks from a licensed and reputable vendor
- Read the directions carefully, and inspect the device for any defects
- Keep a bucket of water, garden hose and fire extinguisher close by
- Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open area away from buildings, vehicles, vegetation or any other combustible material
- Ignite only one device at a time, and use a “punk-stick” to maintain a safe distance
- Always keep a safe distance between yourself and the fireworks device
- Remember to allow enough room for the proper functioning of fireworks
- Always ignite fireworks on a firm, flat surface
- Never give fireworks to a child, and keep children away from any immediate firework area
- Never attempt to fix or re-ignite a malfunctioning device; instead, discard it safely by soaking it in a bucket of water
- Before going to bed or when leaving the area, remember to inspect the area where fireworks were used
- Make sure that no smoldering fires, hot embers or sparks are present from falling fireworks debris; wet the area with a garden hose for added protection
- Store unused fireworks in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children or pets and away from open flames
- When discarding fireworks, remember to always soak them in a bucket of water for several hours before placing them in the trash