Every year on the Fourth of July, thousands gather round to watch spectacular displays of fireworks put on by local cities, towns and organizations. While the sights are beautiful, they can also cause bodily injuries, property damage and structural fires.
Last year, OneBeacon Government Risks (OBGR) shared tips on how your public entity could minimize risk for sponsored firework displays; found here: http://ow.ly/kh7C30cQrIc.
This year we would like to remind public entities about risks related to residents who may want to launch their own fireworks.
What to Consider:
Signs: If you’re hosting your own display, consider posting signs prohibiting fireworks at your event. For instance, are spectators allowed to bring sparklers or poppers? Did you know sparklers burn at a temperature starting at 1,200 degrees? Injuries can be severe. Have first aid and fire extinguishing supplies on hand, as well as emergency management services.
State and Local Laws: Consider publicizing state and local laws about fireworks to consumers in or around your public entity. Fireworks can travel and cause damage. Publicizing these laws will not only help protect your public entity and consumers, but could also prevent injury, property damage, or a structural fire. Find your state laws here.
Host an Event: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 fires in 2013 and in 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 11,900 injuries due to fireworks. Hosting a public display can eliminate many risks for the consumer, especially if, as a public entity, you follow all the necessary guidelines for a safe show.
Education: Consider hosting a forum for consumers in your town to learn about firework safety. The American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation recently launched a youth initiative to provide resources for teaching the youth about fireworks safety. Two videos have debuted: “Safe Use” and “Legal vs. Illegal.”
Heat: With the heat rising in many states, it is vital to notify the public when it’s too dry to light fireworks. Dry conditions are a leading cause of fires. Alert the local news and other emergency notification centers when consumers need to be aware of extra dry conditions and gusty winds. If it’s too hot, dry or windy for a professional display it is most certainly too hot, dry or windy for consumer displays.
Promoting smart consumer fireworks usage is just one step in protecting our consumers and entity. Your entity may also want to consider a few additional resources below.
Remember to celebrate safely this Fourth of July!
Consider utilizing the National Fire Protection Association’s Code for Fireworks Display to ensure safety for both the audience and professionals. The book includes all the pertinent information on requirements for displays including installation, site selection, operation, operator qualifications and more: http://ow.ly/KZJn30cQomn