Safety must be top priority for 4th of July fireworks

Safety must be top priority for 4th of July fireworks


Safety must be top priority for 4th of July fireworks

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) – With some WNY counties now allowing some types of fireworks, local volunteer firefighters are urging everyone to play it safe this holiday weekend.

Even small sparklers can cause serious injuries and fires.

“The little ones, they’re giving off 1,200 degrees of heat,” said Frontier Volunteer Fire Company past chief Richard Silvaroli. “So obviously you want to properly dispose of those afterwards. You don’t want to throw them in any type of combustibles, you don’t want to throw them on the ground. Put them in a bucket, or extinguish them with some type of water source.”

The Frontier Volunteer Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to show News 4 just how hot these fireworks burn. Their demonstration revealed that even after the sparklers burned out, they still retained about 900 degrees of heat in the stick for a full minute afterward.

If those things are carelessly discarded, they can easily send other materials up in flames, especially with the dry weather we’ve seen in Western New York, which has increased the fire risk.

It’s expected to be a busy weekend for emergency calls. “We’ll have a lot of grass fires, a lot of small little campfires that got too big, and we’ll have injuries due to fireworks – Somebody holding something in their hand that they’re not supposed to and it exploding on them,” Silvaroli said.

“There will be burns without a doubt. I guarantee it,” agreed Captain Mark Wright with the Frontier VFC. “The statistics will prove that there will be emergency room visits with any thing from thermal burns to first, second, and third degree burns, from fireworks related.”

“And a lot of eye injuries,” he added.

The firefighters say you must read the instructions on all of your fireworks, and make sure you know what each one is going to do. Some displays can send sparks flying pretty far. It’s important to stay at a safe distance, and only light them a safe distance from any structure, like your house or garage. “Probably give it at least ten feet around,” Silvaroli advised.

You also need to keep your pets and kids far away from fireworks, too. In fact, even in the counties where it’s legal to buy sparklers, it is illegal to give one to anyone under age 18.

MORE | Click here to see the full list of New York counties where you can legally buy and use certain types of fireworks.

“All we ask is, just use common sense,” Wright said. “Have a set perimeter for safety. Don’t let little children use them. And be safe with them.”

The firefighters say every time you use any sort of fireworks, you need to have a water source nearby. “A garden hose is our first defense,” Wright said.

Using that water can help ensure a firework is fully extinguished before you discard it. You should also fully douse any “dud”, and never try to relight it. That can be extremely dangerous.

“Just be safe and make good choices,” Silvaroli said.

MORE | Click here for resources about the fireworks laws and safety information from the state.

Your safest bet may be to leave it to the pros and watch the big fireworks displays happening across our area this weekend. For a full list of places to watch fireworks in Western New York, click here.

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Safety must be top priority for 4th of July fireworks

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