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Updated: Jul 30, 2020


PEARL RIVER, LA – As many families prepare to celebrate our nation's independence, it should be the number one priority to celebrate safely. There’s nothing worse than what should be a happy and joyous celebration turning into a tragedy.

Each year nationally, fireworks have been the cause of over 19,500 fires. This includes structure fires, vehicle fires, and outside fires such as woods and grass. Burns account for 44% of the 9,100 injuries treated in emergency rooms seen in the month around July 4. Half of the fireworks injuries seen at emergency rooms were extremities: hand, finger, or leg. One-third were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children ages 10–14 had the highest rate of fireworks injury, with more than one-third (36%) of the victims of fireworks injuries under age 15. Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries. - Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 2018 Fireworks Annual Report

While the sale of fireworks within our fire protection district is legal, St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 11 discourages use. In times when Covid-19 and social distancing weren’t a concern, the safer alternative is to visit a public fireworks display where the licensed pyrotechnic professional’s put on the show. Unfortunately, there are not many public displays this year so our concern is that many will resort to consumer use. This could potentially increase the risk of injury or fires.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends alternative ways to celebrate: 1. Use glow sticks, they glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler. Fun for all ages. 2. Loud and proud. Noise makers are sure to make a statement. They can be found at local party supply stores or make your own. 3. Outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Don’t forget the bug spray! 4. Red, white and blue silly string…fun for all ages but use caution around open flames. 5. Make a patriotic craft with the family. 6. Throw a birthday party for the USA, and don’t forget the cake.

If people do choose to use fireworks, do so with extreme caution. Keep in mind that sparklers, as innocent as they appear are extremely dangerous, particularly for young children. Sparklers can reach 1,200 °F causing serious burns. To put that in perspective, glass melts at 900 °F. Fireworks could land in a grassy area, the woods, or on a roof causing a fire that could be out of control in a matter of seconds. The safest bet is to completely stay away from consumer fireworks use but if you do use them, follow all listed safety information, keep a garden hose or bucket of water nearby, and only responsible, unimpaired adults should use them. Never mix the use of fireworks with drugs or alcohol.

If a fire starts or injury results, dial 9-1-1 immediately.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day.

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