4th of July Safety TipsThursday, July 02, 2009
The Keizer Fire District, Keizer Police Department, Salem Fire Department, Salem Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and would like to remind everyone of the need to be safe with fireworks as we go into the 4th of July celebrations.
Each year, fire and police departments respond to numerous complaints involving illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks can disrupt the peaceful celebrations of others and can ruin the tranquility and livability of a neighborhood as well. These types of calls can also keep our emergency services resources such as police and fire from other emergency needs in our community and also unnecessarily take up valuable resources in our hospital emergency rooms.
There are over 10,000 injuries reported in the United States each year from the misuse of both legal and illegal fireworks. Of those injuries, “firecrackers” account for the majority of the injuries, followed by “bottle rockets” and sparklers.
There were 188 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon during 2008. Adults were involved in more than 78% of these fires. Although total dollar loss from fireworks-related fires in 2008 was relatively low at $112, 451, all fires should be taken seriously due to their potential to cause death, injury and major property damage.
Oregon law states that fireworks may be sold from June 23rd through July 6th and only from “Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands.” It is illegal to possess, use or sell any fireworks that fly, explode, travel in an uncontrolled or unpredictable manner or travel more than six feet on the ground or twelve inches into the air. This includes fireworks commonly known as bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers. All fireworks are prohibited in all State Parks, on all Oregon beaches and in Federal Parks and Forests.
Illegal fireworks may be seized, and the offender fined up to $500 per violation. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children. Those in possession of illegal fireworks are also subject to criminal charges.
Keizer Fire District • 661 Chemawa Rd. NE • Keizer, Oregon 97303 • Ph: 503-390-9111
It is also illegal to modify otherwise legal fireworks. This is a very common occurrence during this time of the year, but it is very dangerous. Many injuries are reported each year because of people experimenting with and/or modifying legal fireworks. It is a felony that can result in prison time for the person who does it.
Firearms safety is also an issue during 4th of July celebrations, as many people celebrate by firing guns into the air. This is a very dangerous act because the bullet has to come down somewhere, and people have been killed by bullets that have been randomly shot into the air during celebrations. Shooting a gun during your celebration could lead to criminal charges that could result in going to prison!
Here are some tips for the safe use of legal fireworks:
• Buy fireworks from reliable sellers only, and always read and follow the instructions and warnings on the label
• Be prepared before lighting the fireworks. Have water available by using a garden hose and/or a bucket of water
• Children who will be lighting fireworks should always be supervised by a responsible adult. It is also a good idea to educate children on the dangers of fireworks
• Use fireworks on a hard, flat surface and in an open area away from combustibles such as dry grass
• Don’t wear loose clothing
• Keep bystanders, children and pets at a safe distance away
• Never try to re-light a malfunctioning (dud) firework. Wait 15-20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposing of it
• Do not approach a firework that has been lit until you are absolutely sure that it is done firing. Some fireworks have a delay or gaps in their stages
• Treat minor burns with cool water. Seek medical attention for more severe burns.
Independence Day is one of America’s greatest holidays. Everybody is entitled celebrate, but please be courteous of others. Many pets and animals are frightened by fireworks and can behave unpredictably when under stress. Please respect the peace and tranquility of those around you, work with your neighbors and avoid unnecessary conflict and unreasonable disturbances. If you have neighbors or others around who are creating excessive noise, we urge you to try and be patient and to try and peacefully resolve the conflict directly with them.
We ask that you follow the advice and warnings we have provided and have a safe and happy 4th of July!