Firework Safety Tips from the Fire Chief

No 4th of July party is complete without fireworks. However, fireworks can be very dangerous. Due to the recent drought conditions in Tennessee the Fire Department for the neighboring cities of Munford and Atoka decided to post additional firework safety tips on their website. According to J. R. Bonson, Fire Chief, many of the federal and state regulations for public firework displays can also help anyone shooting fireworks to make their own private displays safer for everyone involved.

What age?
Children should not be allowed to shoot fireworks. This can cause a serious danger to injury for the child! Only adults over the age of 18 should be permitted to shoot fireworks.

Where to shoot fireworks?
You need to be cautious about the area you choose to shoot fireworks. Choosing an area that is at least 100 square feet is very important. This will help to insure that anyone watching your fireworks can be at least 50 feet away from where you are setting off the fireworks. Also, you need to make sure that the area you choose is an open area with no flammable ground. The drought conditions have led to optimal conditions for fires to start, keeping fireworks away from grass and other flammable material is very important.

Water
You should make sure to spray down your entire display area with water at least one hour prior to shooting off any fireworks. This helps to minimize the chance of any unintentional fire.

Lighting the Fireworks
the best tool to use for lighting the fuse on fireworks is an electric lighter. This helps decrease the chance of an unintentional lighting of a fuse. Also never relight dud fireworks, these fireworks did not go off for a reason. Set duds aside from your display and move on to the next firework. Also, do not attempt to relight a fuse that went out prematurely. It could be a faulty fuse, it is best to set it aside with the duds and move on.

Directions
I do not mean hand out directions to your friends so they know where to go. I mean the direction that you aim your fireworks when you shoot them. Never shoot fireworks toward people or animals. This can cause serious bodily injury, and should never be attempted. Also make sure to aim your fireworks in the opposite direction of any houses or other buildings. Remember to take into account the wind when deciding how to aim your fireworks.

Where there is smoke….
You have heard the old saying, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.” Keep all cigarette or cigar smoking away from your fireworks display area. Any recreational smoking only increases the chance of an unintentional fire being started.

What if there is a fire?
You need to be prepared just in case a fire does start. Have either a working water hose, or a working fire extinguisher close at hand during your firework display. Hopefully you will not need to use these tools, but you do need to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Make sure that you always have another adult with you while you are shooting fireworks. This second adult should be ready with the fire extinguisher or water hose, just in case of any fire.

Following these tips will not guarantee that you will not have an unexpected fire when enjoying a fireworks display, however it will greatly decrease the chances. Remember to enjoy your holiday and stay safe!

Sources:
Munford/Atoka Fire Department – http://www.munford.com/pdf/Summer_Safety_Tips2007.pdf

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