Officials urge observance of fireworks laws, safety
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is encouraging families to attend professional, public fireworks displays this holiday season. Doing so is a safe way to honor tradition, shared values and hopes for a healthy future.
Amateur fireworks use can endanger users as well as bystanders and surrounding structures, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
In addition, it is illegal to sell or shoot fireworks in St. Mary Parish. Consequences can range from confiscation of fireworks to citations. It is also illegal in the State of Louisiana for anyone under the age of 15 to purchase fireworks.
Fireworks-related fires have typically caused at least $27 million in property loss nationally (not adjusted for inflation) in recent years. A substantial portion of the property loss is due to fireworks typically involving bottle rockets or other fireworks such as rockets/aerial devices. Rockets can land on rooftops or wedge within certain structures and still retain enough heat to cause a fire.
In addition, pyrotechnic devices ranging from sparklers to aerial rockets cause thousands of fires and serious injuries each year. “When things go wrong, they go wrong very fast, and often with disastrous consequences,” Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said.
In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment. Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, scars, lifelong disfigurement or even death. The thousands of serious injuries each year typically harm the eyes, head or hands and are mostly reported in states like Louisiana where fireworks are legal. Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, can reach temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees.
There are safer alternatives to using fireworks this holiday season. Public firework displays are one of those alternatives as they are conducted by trained professionals.
Suggestions for those who do intend to purchase and use fireworks during the upcoming holiday include:
—Read and follow the label directions carefully.
—Have a garden hose or water bucket nearby for medical emergencies and/or to douse spent or misfired fireworks.
—Adults should always supervise fireworks activity.
—Fireworks should be placed on a hard, smooth surface prior to ignition. Never light fireworks in your hand.
—Light one firework at a time and move away quickly after lighting.
—Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings.
—Keep fireworks away from small children.
—Do not alter or make your own fireworks.
—After displays, never pick up fireworks that may be left over.
Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury, as they may still be active.