KFD Wants You to Have a Safe, Burn & Injury Free Fourth of July

Fireworks during the Fourth of July are as American as baseball and apple-pie, but did you know that more fires are reported on that day than on any other day of the year in the United States? Nearly half of these fires are caused by fireworks. Consumer fireworks include sparklers and firecrackers. Any consumer firework can be dangerous. The Kingsport Fire Department urges residents to enjoy local professional fireworks displays.

Kingsport City Ordinances specifically prohibit the manufacture, use, discharge, possession with the intent to discharge, or sale of fireworks within the city limits.

The use of Sky Lanterns (aka “Chinese Lanterns” or “Wish Lanterns”) is prohibited in the State of Tennessee.

Consumer fireworks such as sparklers burn at over 1200 degrees and will cause third degree burns.  There are no safe consumer fireworks!

If you live in an area where fireworks are permissible follow these safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

Fireworks Tips:
  • Leave fireworks to the professionals.
  • Do not use consumer fireworks
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don’t realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures above 1,200 degrees – hot enough to melt glass.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one item at a time then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
  • Children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, they may still be active. Remember to cool a burn with running water then seek immediate medical attention or call 911.
Fireworks by the numbers: 
  • From 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks. These fires included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside and other fires. An estimated two people were killed in these fires.
  • In 2014, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s2014 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu and Demar Granados.
  • The risk of fireworks injury is highest for young people ages 5-9, followed by children 10-19.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on July 4th. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.

Source: NFPA’s Fireworks report, by Marty Ahrens, June 2016 www.nfpa.org

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