Contact: Battalion Chief Steven Sapp - (573) 874-7557
COLUMBIA, MO (June 29, 2007) - The Columbia Fire Department asks this rhetorical question to make you think. If you wouldn't let your child play with matches and lighters, then why would you allow them to play with and discharge fireworks? Fireworks are not for children. Injuries to children between the ages of 1 and 14 account for 42 percent of all injuries attributed to fireworks.
In 2005, 10,800 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, the second highest total in the decade of 1996-2005. The trend in fireworks-related injuries has been mostly up since 1996, with a sharp spike in 2000-2001, primarily due to celebrations around the advent of a new millennium. The highest injury rates were for children aged 10 to 14.
In 2005, 19 out of 20 (95 percent) emergency room fireworks injuries involved fireworks that federal regulations permit consumers to use. The risk of fire death relative to exposure shows fireworks to be the riskiest consumer product.
In 2000-2004, an estimated seven people per year were killed in reported fires started by
fireworks, while seven people per year were killed directly by fireworks. Deaths involving fireworks are identified from two data sources, which may partially or largely overlap, because fireworks can kill directly and also start fires. The period of 2000-2004 is the latest 5-year period for which there is official data from death certificates.
Columbia firefighters and Columbia police remind our citizens that discharging of fireworks within the city limits is prohibited by ordinance. Leave fireworks to the professionals and attend the professional display at Memorial Stadium on the UMC Campus or a professional display in your local area. Again this year, a professional display and other entertainment will be provided at the annual "Fire in the Sky".
But when you attend your community's local professional fireworks display - do not bring fire works! In past years, fire marshals patrolling the area of the fireworks display witnessed several rockets travel into crowds of onlookers and then explode. No serious injuries were reported but the potential for severe injury, including hearing loss, eye injuries and severe burns, are there.
Realizing that even with all the warnings of how dangerous fireworks are, should you travel to a jurisdiction where fireworks are legal to discharge, please heed the following safety tips:
Fireworks should only be discharged by adults. Never allow children to set off fireworks.
Always wear eye protection when discharging fireworks.
NEVER hold bottle rockets, flares or other like fireworks in your hands.
NEVER point fireworks at other people, vehicles or buildings.
ALWAYS make sure persons are clear of the area when fireworks are being discharged.
If allowing children to handle sparklers, warn them NOT to touch the tip or get close to other people. The extreme high temperature at which a sparkler burns, up to 1,200 degrees, will cause serious burns. Place the sparkler in a bucket of water to cool when it has burned out.
What goes up will come down! Always discharge fireworks in an open area, clear of any buildings and other objects that could catch fire.
ALWAYS call 911 IMMEDIATELY if a fire or personal injury occurs.
Always have a garden hose, portable extinguisher or buckets of water available should fireworks ignite grass, leaves or fall on buildings.
If your hair or clothing catches fire, remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL while you cover your face with your hands to protect your eyes, nose and mouth. Roll until the fire is out or until help arrives to extinguish the fire.
Use only cool water to treat a burn. Never use salves or other liquids. Use only cool water in large quantities and seek medical attention for severe burns.
Again, the men and women of the Columbia Fire Department urge you to leave fireworks to the professionals and attend the free "Fire in the Sky" display at the Memorial Stadium where you can sit back and safely enjoy the show including free entertainment before the fireworks.