ST. LOUIS — Fourth of July events around the state have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some cities are going ahead with the celebrations with social-distancing guidelines in place while others have canceled events altogether.
Fourth of July is not only the busiest day of the year for fireworks, but it’s also the busiest day for fires, according to a press release. The National Fire Protection Association said about 40% of structure fires on July Fourth are the result of fireworks.
Fireworks also start an average of 18,500 fires a year and about 250 people go to emergency rooms each day with fireworks-related injuries in the 30 days around the holiday, the release said.
“Each year, we remind people that the best sights and safest experiences are at public fireworks displays because of the dangers posed by using consumer fireworks,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “This year, we are concerned if more people choose to turn to consumer fireworks, it could lead to additional injuries and fires. We urge everyone to be extremely cautious, and to review safety guidelines for using consumer fireworks.”
Here are some safety tips for people planning to light their own fireworks:
- Confirm fireworks are legal where you live; purchase fireworks only from licensed retailers.
- Only use fireworks in a large open space that has been cleared of flammable materials.
- Always keep young children away from fireworks; if teens are permitted to handle fireworks, they should be closely supervised by an adult; always wear eye protection.
- Make sure to have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
- Only light fireworks one at a time; never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never shoot fireworks off from a glass jar or container.
- Never use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
- Never store fireworks from season to season.
The association also said you shouldn’t underestimate sparklers.
Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals, according to the release. Sparklers account for more than 25% of emergency rooms visits for firework injuries.
Bean said in addition to normal safety concerns, people using loose-fitting cloth face coverings to protect against COVID-19 should remember those coverings pose a hazard when using open-flame devices to light fireworks.
For more safety tips, click here.
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