The Fourth of July marks a time of celebration and a great time to gather with family and friends. But every year, thousands of people end up in the emergency room for injuries sustained from mishandling live or misfired consumer fireworks. “Children ages 10 to14 had the highest rate of fireworks injury, with more than one-third (36%) of the victims of fireworks injuries under age 15” according to the National Fire Protection Association. Additionally, fireworks cause approximately 19,500 fires resulting in $100 million in direct property damage. The North Charleston Fire Department wants to share some tips to celebrate the Fourth of July safely.
Start with observing local fireworks laws.
The City of North Charleston fireworks ordinance1 allows fireworks discharge from 9 am to 11:30 pm throughout the year. Hours are extended for the July 4th holiday, from 9 am on July 4th to 1 am on July 5th.
- Discharging fireworks from a vehicle is prohibited
- Discharging fireworks on land without consent is prohibited
- Discharging fireworks towards any structure, animal, or person is prohibited and very dangerous.
How to safely use fireworks:
- Identify a “fireworks zone” with markers that are a safe distance away from structures, people, and animals
- Read and follow the directions on each firework
- Always have a responsible adult designated as the “firework lighter”
- Light one firework at a time
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Keep a water bucket or hose nearby in case of fire
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
Here are some safe alternatives for celebrating the Fourth of July:
- Use glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers instead of sparklers
- Red, white, and blue silly string is fun for all ages
- Outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Don’t forget the bug spray!
- Make a patriotic craft with the family.
- Make the fourth a birthday party for America – don’t forget the cake!