June 28, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Be careful with fireworks on the Fourth of July.
A big part of Fourth of July festivities includes fireworks. People across the country will look skyward as Independence Day skies darken, excited to see the display held by professionals in their communities - and some people will purchase their own fireworks to light after picnics and other outdoor activities.
"Consumer fireworks are not allowed on base. Consumer fireworks include sparklers and firecrackers," said Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Inspector James Dansereau. "For those living off-base, check with your local authorities on where you can legally use fireworks. If you can't find this information online, you can contact your local fire department for guidance."
According to the National Fire Protection Association website, two out of five fires reported on the Fourth of July are started by fireworks.
"People should keep in mind how dangerous fireworks are. It's best to leave fireworks to trained professionals to avoid injuries and fires. However, if you're going to use consumer fireworks off base, make sure they're legally allowed in your area. Do not use fireworks at all if your judgment is impaired," Dansereau said. "Fireworks should be used by adults only. Do not allow children to handle fireworks."
He also warned not to go near fireworks if they remain inert. "They may be active. Wait at least 20 to 30 minutes before approaching the fireworks."
Dansereau pointed to a heat chart on the NFPA website. "Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit; cakes bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit; wood burns at 575 degrees Fahrenheit, and glass melts at 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. "That's hot enough to cause third-degree burns," he said.