Every year fire departments brace for the possibility of fires and injuries caused by fireworks. Officials are concerned both about the fire danger these fireworks pose, as well as the potential for devastating injuries.
Nationally on average, fireworks caused an estimated 18,500 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $43 million in direct property damage. In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 54% of 2015 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 36% were to the head, says the NFPA. Sparklers accounted for 25 percent of the injuries.
Scottsdale Fire urges everyone to use fireworks in a safe and responsible manner. SFD offers the following safety tips:
- Check and obey the local laws and use common sense.
- Senate Bill 1158 allows for the sale of consumer fireworks from Dec. 10 thru Jan. 3. It also allows for use in Maricopa and Pima Counties from Dec. 24 thru Jan. 3.
- In Scottsdale, their use in and near many sensitive desert areas remains illegal and violators are subject to substantial fines. Use of fireworks is prohibited in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Pinnacle Peak Park and all properties located within 1 mile of these fragile desert lands.
- The use of fireworks is also prohibited on all publicly-owned properties, which include but are not limited to, city buildings, city parking lots, city parks, public schools and city streets.
- Always read and follow instructions. Always have an adult present.
- Keep burning sparklers and other fireworks away from clothing and any other flammable objects.
- Only use fireworks outdoors, away from buildings and vehicles.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Alcohol, fireworks and sparklers do not mix. Be responsible.
- Do not point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Children under the age of 12 should not handle fireworks, including sparklers.
- When finished, place used fireworks in a bucket of water.
Travelers should also be reminded that the FAA prohibits fireworks of any kind on any flight. They cannot be checked as baggage or carried on.
And as the last hours of 2018 near, SFD reminds gun owners not to shoot firearms in the air to celebrate the beginning of 2019.