Fire Official Warns That Even 'Safe' Fireworks Can Be A Hazard

Jul 1, 2017

Credit Flickr user Kaitlyn Hansen

The Fourth of July is fast approaching and, for many people, that means fireworks. But officials warn that also can mean fireworks-related injuries and property damage. They’re warning people to be careful when handling fireworks – especially the small ones.

DeKalb Deputy Fire Chief James Zarek said that, on average across the country, 250 people go to the emergency room every day and seven people die because of firework-related injuries in the month around July 4.  

Some are caused by fireworks that are illegal in Illinois, like bottle rockets and Roman candles. But Zarek said that items that are legal and considered by many people to be “safe” account for most of the injuries and damage.

“One of the worst is sparklers,” he said. “Even though they aren’t shooting off anything into the air, they are throwing off hot sparks that have burned people, [and] that have caught blankets on fire.”

Zarek said people handling items like sparklers, smoke devices and the like need to take basic precautions. They should never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, and they should keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of mishap, as well as to douse the used firework to prevent a trash fire.

Zarek said his advice for people wanting to enjoy fireworks is to go to a public show put on by trained professionals.

Area police and fire departments said they will be looking for and issuing citations for illegal fireworks. They’ll also be on the lookout for drivers celebrating the holiday with alcohol.