Holiday & Fireworks Safety

Friday, June 29, 2018 at 10:32 AM

By Troy Morgan, Jefferson Co. Emergency Management

Enjoy the holiday

The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency wants everyone to enjoy the approaching holiday season and the festivities that go along with the celebration of America’s Independence. The agency also urges those celebrating to practice safety and use caution while around fireworks and joins Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson in sharing the following information;
As Independence Day approaches, Hoosiers are encouraged to practice safety when it comes to fireworks. In 2017, 77 percent of all reported firework injuries occurred from July 1-7, and 39.5 percent of all firework injuries occurred on July 4.
“Fireworks can cause serious injuries if not properly handled,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “If planning to use personal fireworks, always follow label instructions and keep precautions such as a hose or bucket of water nearby. Taking a few seconds to think about safety is important for everyone involved.”
The State Fire Marshal oversees the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Division of Fire and Building Safety. Each year, the division permits retailers and wholesalers of fireworks within Indiana.
Last year, 238 firework-related injuries were reported to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). Of those cases:

  • More than one-third of all reported firework-related injuries involved individuals 18 years of age and younger.
  • 30 percent of firework-related burn injuries were to the hands or fingers.
  • Eye injuries accounted for 11.7 percent of the total number of injuries.
  • 49 percent of the injuries were caused by firecrackers, rockets and sparklers.
  • Malfunctioning or mishandling of fireworks accounted for nearly 57 percent of reported cases.
  • Fireworks use on private property accounted for 61.3 percent of reported cases.

The only time children should be allowed to handle any type of firework is when an adult is there to supervise. Children should never be left alone with fireworks, not even sparklers. Sparklers can burn at approximately 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (which can melt glass). A safer alternative for younger children would be glow sticks.
To keep this holiday season fun filled for everyone involved, safety is encouraged by following these tips:

  • Steer clear of others setting off fireworks. They can backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even as a joke.
  • Do not attempt to make or alter any fireworks or firework devices.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or water supply, such as a hose or bucket of water, nearby.
  • Only light one firework at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
  • Do not pick up pieces of fireworks after being lit or after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Think about pets. Animals have sensitive ears and can be very frightened or stressed by firework sounds. Keeping pets indoors can reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

When can fireworks be used?

  • Throughout the year, it is legal to set off fireworks from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., but this may be limited further by local ordinances. Citizens should check with local officials.
  • It is legal to set off fireworks from 9 a.m. to midnight on state holidays, but this may be limited further by local ordinances.

The times on the following dates are protected for consumer use of fireworks and may not be prohibited by local ordinance:

  • June 29-July 3: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset;
  • July 4: from 10 a.m. to midnight; and
  • July 5-July 9: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset.

Where can fireworks be used?
Fireworks may only be set off:

  • On the user’s property,
  • On the property of someone who has consented to the use of fireworks, or
  • At locally identified special discharge locations. Not all communities designate a special discharge location.

Please Note: a person who sets off fireworks, even in a legal location, may still be held liable for any resulting injuries or damage caused to another person or property.
What can happen if fireworks laws are broken?
There are consequences that come with breaking the laws regarding fireworks. Keep these in mind:

  • A person under the age of 18 possessing or using fireworks without an adult present could face a fine of $500 per infraction.
  • A person using fireworks anywhere other than the three listed places above could face a maximum fine of $500 per infraction.
  • Causing damage to someone else’s property with fireworks could result in a fine of $5,000, and one year imprisonment, in addition to being financially liable for any damage.

For more information on firework safety, visit: Contact local officials for more information on local ordinances and firework limitations.

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