Chief Robert Gill, Central Calaveras Fire
Permanent scarring, loss of vision, dismemberment-these are too often realities of amateur fireworks use. To keep the public safe from fireworks-related injuries and deaths, Central Calaveras Fire & Rescue Protection District urges everyone to treat legal fireworks (California SFM´s Approved Safe & Sane Type) as suitable for use by trained professionals. According to Fire Chief Robert Gill, Central Calaveras Fire, amateur fireworks use endangers not only the users, but also bystanders and surrounding property and structures. Pyrotechnic devices ranging from sparklers to aerial rockets cause thousands of fire and serious injuries each year.
“Safe & sane fireworks don´t exist”, says Chief Gill. “When things go bad with fireworks, they go very bad, very fast, far faster than any fire agency can respond.”
In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment, i.e. severe burns, fractures, permanent isfigurement, scars or even death. The thousands of serious injuries each year typically harm the eyes, head, or hands, and are mostly reported in states where fireworks are legal. Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees.
“Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs”, says Chief Gill. “The seconds of pleasure those fireworks may bring are not worth the risk of injury or death”.
Forest, residences and even vehicles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. Fireworks related incidents have typically caused at least $20 million in property loss each year in recent years. A substantial portion of the residential structure fire property loss due to fireworks typically involves bottle rockets or other fire works rockets. These rockets can land on rooftops or wedge within homes and still retain enough heat to cause a fire.
Chief Gill says for most people, their families and their houses represent the hard work of a lifetime and their hopes for the future. No one would risk what´s most important to him or her if they understood all the hazards of fireworks.
There is a safer alternative to using fireworks on the 4th of July. Public fireworks displays are one of those alternatives. These displays are the smartest & safest fireworks alternative for people because they are established, under controlled settings and regulated. After these displays, children should never pickup fireworks that maybe left over. Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to explode or discharge can cause injury because they may still be active. Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks rather than picking up smoking or charred fireworks themselves, which could be very hazardous.
Clearly, fireworks are capable of serious, fatal injuries, huge state and residential dollar losses. Currently six states ban “ALL Consumer Fireworks”, AZ, DE, MA, NJ, NY and RI. The fireworks banned in these states don´t become safer when used in others. Remember, all fireworks should be left to professionals.
Have a Safe 4th of July! Robert L. Gill, Fire Chief