Stay Safe this Fourth of July Holiday: Tips From an Area Fire Marshal

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With warm weather and family events, the Fourth of July can be a fun time with great memories. Before your family celebrates this year, the New Canaan Fire Marshal’s Office wishes to make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.

— Fred Baker is the New Canaan Fire Marshal. His article (not including the sidebar and further information below) previously was published by NewCanaanite.com.

Only sparklers and “shower” type fireworks are legal to sell and use in Connecticut.

Fireworks injuries infographic

Infographic from Consumer Product Safety Commission

Where the injuries show up

No aerial or exploding type fireworks are permitted to be sold or used in the state. (Go to the Family Fourth – you will see a tremendous professional show.)

  • Only persons 16 years and older may use the above fireworks.
  • Always keep at least 30 feet away from spectators and structures and strictly follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure you are in a clear, open area with no dry vegetation or other combustibles that can easily ignite.
  • Never lean over a display when igniting.
  • Always have a garden hose or bucket of water available.
  • If a display fails to discharge (a dud), NEVER look into it or pick it up — let it sit and then dunk it in a pail of water.
  • Be mindful of neighbors and their safety.
  • Remember, most pets are terrified of fireworks so take necessary precautions to keep them safe.
  • Be extremely careful of sparklers — the metal sticks become red hot and can cause severe burns – have a bucket of water available to dunk them in when they have expired.
  • Never ignite fireworks while holding them — always have a level, stable surface to set them on.
  • Don’t throw used fireworks directly in the trash — keep them in a separate noncombustible container for at least 24 hrs. or soak them in a bucket of water to make sure there are no hot embers.

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SIDEBAR:

From the National Fire Protection Association

Fireworks by the numbers
  • Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of those injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2017 injuries.

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