JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – As the state slowly opens, it’s at the time of year when we as a nation are able to continue the birth of our independence. Many of us will gather with family and friends.
Does part of your celebration include the use of fireworks?
For those who live on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the use of personal fireworks is prohibited. That includes the so-called safe fireworks: sparklers, smoke bombs or any of the like.
The National Fire Protection Association reports fireworks start more than 19,000 fires and send over 9,000 people to emergency rooms annually. Statistically, children ages 10 to 14 are the most likely to be injured by fireworks.
Sparklers account for about 25% of these injuries. The average temperature of a sparkler is 1,200 degrees, while water boils at 212 degrees.
NFPA recommends the use of glow sticks, as a safer alternative to sparklers. You can buy nonexplosive-type noise makers at any party store.
JBLM Fire Prevention recommends attending a professional display such as the one JBLM Morale, Welfare and Recreation has scheduled at Cowan and Memorial Stadiums on the Fourth of July for DOD ID cardholders and their guests.
Off-base residents should check with their local jurisdictions about the use of fireworks; many local communities have banned the use of personal fireworks. For example, in Tacoma you can be fined over $500, if caught.
If you are allowed to use fireworks in your area, JBLM Fire Prevention encourages you to do it smartly. The use of alcohol and fireworks is not a good combo, as good judgement could be lost.
You have designated drivers; also consider having a designated firework operator. To ensure any fireworks don’t end up on your or your neighbor’s roof, have an observer on the lookout.
Light the fireworks only on noncombustible surfaces. Once lit, do not try to relight if the firework is a dud. Many can go off just as you add more fire to a short fuse.
After this week’s Pacific Northwest heat with temperatures above 100 degrees, the grass and trees are extremely dry. So have a water source available to put out any potential grass fires.
If you do have an emergency, call 911 to report the fire before it gets out of hand.
The weather forecast for the Fourth of July calls for temperatures in the low to mid 80s, so if you’re outside, stay hydrated. Water or a sports drink are ideal hydrating fluids.
If you visit local beaches, most of the waters are still in the 40- to 50-degree range, so use caution. Wear a life preserver, especially on rivers. Never swim alone, and keep an eye on children.
For more fire safety information, call 253-966-7156 or visit the Lewis-McChord Fire and Emergency Services Facebook page.
For information about JBLM’s Independence Day celebration, click here.
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