The Fourth of July holiday is quickly approaching and that means fireworks are on the minds of many. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to State Fire Marshal Randy Cole:
“We are just asking folks to use some common sense and extra caution when using consumer fireworks,”said Cole,”We recommend attending the pubic displays as an option rather than using fireworks around your home this year. If you choose to use them, we want to make sure that you have ample water supply in case an accident does happen. Take in account breezy conditions; once the firework is discharged, it may disperse sparks away from your area.”
As families prepare to celebrate the July 4th holiday, State Fire Marshal Randy Cole reminds Missourians that public firework displays put on by trained professionals are always the safest way to enjoy fireworks, and extremely dry conditions this year raise the potential risk of backyard fireworks.
“The most exciting and entertaining fireworks displays are always at large public shows,” Fire Marshal Cole said. “The use of fireworks by individuals risks injury to the user and onlookers as well as well as posing a fire hazard for surrounding structures. This year’s extremely dry conditions elevate the risk that even small sparks created by consumer fireworks can lead to grass and brush fires, which can rapidly spread—posing a risk of wildland and structure fires.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, May 2012 was one of the driest Mays on record for Missouri. According to NOAA, the one year period from June 2011 to May 2012 was the warmest such period recorded for Missouri. The result is an elevated fire risk.
Fireworks sales at licensed seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri from June 20 to July 10. State permits should be displayed at all seasonal retail locations. Missourians who choose to use consumer fireworks should follow basic safety practices:
- · Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer.
- · Keep young children away from fireworks.
- · Make sure to have water nearby in case of a fire or an accident
- · Always wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
- · Tie back long hair and don’t wear loose fitting clothes.
- · Only light one firework at a time.
- · Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.
- · Never have any part of your body over fireworks.
- · Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- · Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- · Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- · Never light fireworks indoors.
- · Don’t use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
- · Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don’t save fireworks from season to season.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, far more fires are reported in the U.S. on a typical Independence Day than on any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires.
The NFPA also reports that in 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 total structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported deaths, 60 injuries and $36 million in direct property damage.
Anyone with concerns about a fireworks dealer or the types of fireworks being sold by a dealer should call the Office of the State Fire Marshal at (573) 751-2930.