PA Officials Offer Firework Safety Reminders Ahead of July 4
HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Officials in Pennsylvania are giving some firework safety tips for the Fourth of July, now just over a week away. This morning, Acting Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Charles McGarvey said fireworks are not toys, and to always use caution.
“I know everybody wants to have fun with it, and then especially around the Fourth of July holiday we're celebrating our independence, but we need to do it responsibly,” said McGarvey.
McGarvey and the Burn Prevention Network outlined some necessary steps to protect yourself, friends, loved ones, and property.
They say children should never play with fireworks, nor sparklers, which can burn at temperatures around 1,200 degrees. Fireworks should also never be thrown or pointed at another person.
Officials say if you’re under the influence of alcohol or other substances you should not use fireworks because it can impact your ability to react in an emergency and your ability to safely light fireworks. McGarvey says it’s also crucial to maintain proper distance between fireworks and structures, and more importantly, between fireworks and people.
“Just maintaining proper distance is the biggest thing. Don't be using these things if you're intoxicated or you're under some kind of substance,” said McGarvey. “You can truly have some life changing events if you're not using these fireworks properly,” he added.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in over 15,000 injuries nationwide that were treated in hospital emergency departments.
McGarvey says to never pick up or re-light fireworks that have not fully ignited, and to fully douse fireworks with water before picking them up or disposing, in order to prevent fires.
“Some type of metal container, that you have water in, dump them into the water, keep them away from the house or do not put them on your porch. Let them soak overnight so that we know that they're fully out and then properly dispose of them,” said McGarvey.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start nearly 20,000 fires per year and cause an average of $105 million in property damage.
Today’s firework safety tips come as state lawmakers move forward with legislation to crack down on firework usage in the commonwealth.
The House recently passed legislation that limits fireworks from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. with exceptions on New Year’s Eve, and July 2-4.
Officials say if you plan to use consumer-grade, or “Class-C” fireworks, there are several restrictions you should be aware of before using.
- They cannot be ignited or discharged on public or private property without the express permission of the property owner.
- They cannot be discharged from within a motor vehicle or building.
- They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
- They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present.
- They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.
Under state law, you must be 18 years or older to purchase Class C fireworks.
Officials say local ordinances may include additional restrictions and to always check with your municipality before purchasing or using Class C fireworks.