Tips to Celebrate the 4th Safely

File photo (MGN)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) Just like Shrimp n' grits, the 4th of July and fireworks just go together.

Everyone enjoys the bright sounds and big booms of a backyard pyrotechnic display but if you're not careful your Independence Day could turn dangerous or even deadly.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were reports of four fireworks-related deaths and an estimated 9,600 hospital emergency room treated injuries in 2011 alone.

Fireworks are legal in parts of South Carolina and it is not uncommon to see those metal pop-up shops in trailers lining Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and other Lowcountry communities.

Thousands of families will line up to purchase their pyrotechnic pieces of fun, but make sure that if you plan on fireworks you do so safely.

Making sure parents and kids celebrate safely is priority number one for North Charleston Chief Fire Marshall Cindy Killete.

"We encourage families to go to the free shows and local events," Killete said. " It's a better show, you see it all and avoid the risk of injury.

Each and every year the Consumer Product Safety Commission holds a public safety demonstration on the National Mall to illustrate just how quickly fireworks can go from a day of run to a trip to the hospital or worse.

"Consumers need to heed our warning: fireworks related incidents, especially those involving illegal fireworks, can be fatal," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Only use legal fireworks and follow CPSC's tips to ensure your holiday remains festive and safe."

While many parents let their children in on the fun, South Carolina law states no one under the age of 14 should be igniting fireworks.

Keeping Your Celebrations Safe

The following are tips to make sure you stay safe when lighting up this 4th of July

  • Young Children should never be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks. If they do it should be under adult supervision.
  • Make sure to avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper; this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them
  • Another major concern for Chief Fire Marshall Kilete is the recent heat and lack of rain.

    "Remember we've had some scorching heat in the past few days" she said. "It only takes a small spark to start a fire.

    Killete recommends finding firm level ground to set up the launch and watering the area around it before shooting off fireworks.

    "Always keep a hose nearby just in case," she said. "Never shoot them towards or at anyone else and make sure you use a little common sense."


    close video ad
    Unmutetoggle ad audio on off