Fireworks Safety

Article2695

The July 4th holiday is approaching! Hot, dry, and humid weather makes fireworks especially dangerous this time of year. This is a time for celebration and fun. One way that people celebrate “Independence Day” is the use of fireworks, which too can be enjoyable, if you remember to obey the law.

Certain fireworks are illegal to sell or possess in North Carolina. These include firecrackers, ground spinners, bottle rockets, roman candles, and aerial fireworks. Violators of the law face misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or imprisonment not to exceed six months.

In general, sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks items that do not explode or are not intended to spin or to leave the ground and fly through the air, are permitted for use in North Carolina. A simple rule of thumb; anything that explodes or is projected into the air is illegal.

The Charlotte Fire Department wants to remind everyone that children under the age of 16 cannot legally buy or use fireworks in North Carolina.

Fireworks that are legal include:
Snake and glow worms
Smoke devices consisting of a tube or sphere that produce white or colored smoke
Trick noisemakers, including party poppers, string poppers and snappers
Wire sparklers

In 2007, approximately 9,500 people sustained an injury from fireworks serious enough to send them to their local emergency room. The majority of the injuries were from burns. Sparklers are the most frequent cause of firework injuries to children nationwide. A lit sparkler can reach temperatures of up to 1800 degrees that can cause third degree burns when a child grabs the wire.

The Charlotte Fire Department offers the following safety tips:

*Buy from reliable fireworks vendors
*Never alter fireworks or try to make your own
*Store fireworks in a cool, dry place
*Never carry fireworks in your pocket
*Loose clothing should not be worn while handling fireworks
*Fireworks are not toys and should only be handled by responsible adults
*Have a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire emergency
*Light one firework at a time and move away from it quickly. If a firework does not light the first time, do not attempt to light it again
*Ignite your fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from grass, trees and other vegetation
*Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container

With the drought conditions and water restrictions, The Charlotte Fire Department and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department encourage citizens to view firework shows rather than create their own display.

For additional information contact:
Charlotte Fire Department
Fire & Life Safety Education
704-336-3970
www.charlottefire.org