By Edward Chavez, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire PreventionJune 20, 2019
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Barbeques, family fun and of course, fireworks are all synonymous with the Fourth of July. But before you run out to buy those firecrackers, roman candles and shells -- know that Joint Base Lewis-McChord policy states that all firework use is strictly prohibited on base.
If you plan on using fireworks off the installation, we encourage you to contact your local jurisdiction before doing so. Many local communities have also adopted the "no fireworks" mantra.
Authorities can and will fine you if caught breaking the law. In some jurisdictions this can amount to a fine of up to $150 and the loss of the remainder of your fireworks.
If fireworks are permitted in your local community, please remember that every type of firework, from cakes to sparklers are dangerous.
Below are some statistics compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on the dangers of fireworks.
Fireworks By The Numbers
• Sparklers account for roughly a quarter of emergency room fireworks related injuries. They can burn as hot as 1,200 degrees and cause third-degree burns.
• Thirty-one percent of firework-related injuries involve the hands and fingers, while the head, face and eyes account for up to 22%. Males account for 70% of firework-related hospital visits.
• Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside/other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
• In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries. Children younger than 15-years-old accounted for more than 36% of those injuries.
In addition to the potential risk of injury, be cognizant of your neighbors who may suffer from 'post-traumatic stress disorder.' According to Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center, fireworks are a reported issue for veterans from as far back as the Vietnam War. So be courteous and check with any service members or veterans in your neighborhood before using them.
The JBLM Fire Prevention office wants you to enjoy your Independence Day festivities, but we want you to do it safely. Let the professionals light the fireworks while you concentrate on lighting the grill.
For more information, call 253-966-7164 or check out our Facebook page at Lewis-McChord Fire and Emergency Services.