Wednesday, July 1, 2015

RFD Fireworks Safety Advisory

The 4th of July is a holiday that includes fireworks as a central part of the celebration. The Richmond Fire Department hopes you and your family have a safe Independence Day holiday and that you enjoy fireworks safely. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – fires, devastating burns, severe injuries, and even death. Below are statistics and tips of how to enjoy fireworks safely.

In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. 

In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2014 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head. 

The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 0 - 4, followed by children 10 - 14.

On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires. 

Leave fireworks to the professionals, do not use consumer fireworks. 

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained licensed professionals. The City is sponsoring; VA Fireworks on the James on Friday, July 3; and Dogwood Dell of July Celebration on Saturday, July 4.

After the firework display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, they may still be active. 

As a reminder, fireworks are illegal in the Metro Richmond Area. Illegally discharging fireworks may subject the responsible party to legal action. Violation of the Fire Code is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, subject to penalties of up to $2,500 for each offense and/or up to a year in jail.