For many of us, the Fourth of July just wouldn’t be complete without fireworks. State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy warns that people often forget that fireworks are explosives – potentially dangerous chemicals and combustibles that can cause fires and injure people.
“Sparklers, for example, burn at 1,200 degrees,” Connealy said. “That’s almost six times hotter than boiling water.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers account for 41 percent of fireworks-related injuries.
In 2015 there were 272 fires caused by fireworks, resulting in $164,602 in property damage. This was the second year in a row to see a decrease in fireworks-related fires. To help continue this downward trend, the State Fire Marshal’s Office offers these tips to make your Fourth of July celebration safer:
- Follow the law. Contact your local officials for information on burn bans and to find out which fireworks are legal in your area.
- Make sure an adult is present during fireworks use. Children should not handle fireworks.
- Do not drink alcohol before shooting off fireworks.
- Read all directions and warnings on individual products.
- Use fireworks on a hard, level surface.
- Use fireworks in a clear, open area. Never shoot fireworks indoors and avoid shooting fireworks in an area where there is dry grass or brush. Shoot fireworks away from homes and other flammable materials.
- Purchase fireworks only from a licensed and approved dealer.
- Do not point or throw fireworks at people.
- Have a bucket of water, garden hose or other water source available for emergencies.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Texas Department of Insurance. Its mission is to reduce the loss of life and property through prevention, education, and protection. For more information, visit tdi.texas.gov/fire.