Richland County Fire Enforcement reminds residents the best way to enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July holiday weekend is to do so safely.
Because of restrictions in response to COVID-19, many professional fireworks shows have been canceled, meaning more residents might be using fireworks at home.
“Fireworks safety is everyone’s job,” said James Ballentine, deputy fire marshal for Richland County. “Play safe, stay safe.”
In 2019, U.S. hospital emergency departments treated an estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries between June 21 and July 21, the period associated with the Fourth of July holiday, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children are injured by fireworks at a rate disproportionate to adults.
To keep the holiday weekend safe, residents should remember the following tips:
- Follow all local ordinances regarding sales, purchase and use of fireworks. Under state law, it is illegal for people younger than 16 to buy fireworks.
- Leave the handling and lighting of fireworks to sober, competent adults. Children should not handle fireworks.
- Establish a “hot zone” where only an adult lighting the fireworks is allowed.
- When lighting fireworks, wear hearing, eye and hand protection to lessen the risk of injury from noise, flames or shrapnel.
- Never launch fireworks in the direction of people or animals.
- Position observers a safe distance upwind from any launching, burning or falling fireworks.
- Do not handle any fireworks that are burning, smoldering or smoking.
- Do not light fireworks in or near buildings, debris or other structures that could easily catch fire.