JBLM community members urged to celebrate safely this Fourth of July
By Edward Chavez, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire PreventionJune 29, 2020
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – With less than a week before the Fourth of July, many Joint Base Lewis-McChord community members are prepping for a variety of socially-distant celebrations. With many on-base and local events cancelled due to COVID-19, the JBLM Fire Prevention office reminds installation residents that the use of personnel fireworks are strictly prohibited.If you plan on using fireworks off the base, we encourage you to contact your local jurisdiction before doing so. Many communities have their own policies and authorities can and will fine you if caught breaking the law.If fireworks are permitted in your local community, please remember that every type of firework, from sparklers to firecrackers are dangerous.Below are statistics compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on the dangers of fireworks.• Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires and 17,100 outside and other fires.• Fires created by fireworks caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries and $105 million in direct property damage in the same year.• In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head.• Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries.These statistics do not include acreage burnt from stray fireworks or the harmful effects felt by community members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.We also should be considerate to those family’s that have animals that don’t practically care for load noises.The National Fire Protection Association reports that 70% of firework related injuries are males. The age demographic is between 25 and 44. With 34% related to hand or finger injuries.For those that think sparklers are safe fireworks, they account for 25% of all injuries. The average sparkler firework burns at 1,200 degrees. To put that in prospective, glass melts at 900 degrees.Using BBQ’s can also provide a safety risk. Community members are reminded the use of BBQ’s and outdoor fryers should be done at least 15 feet from any structure. When using charcoal, make sure the coals are cool to the touch before disposal.Any cooking done in the home should not be left unattended-cooking fires are still the leading cause of housing fires. Remember if you hear the smoke alarm while you are cooking then it may be too late.For more information, call 253-966-7164 or visit the Lewis-McChord Fire and Emergency Services Facebook page.