With the Fourth of July right around the corner, plans and preparation have begun for the various fireworks displays to be held across the country. Along with cookouts and parades, fireworks play a major part of the holiday celebration and symbolize the freedom that America is associated with. Many families gather to watch a professional fireworks display. However, many people put on a display on their own, heightening the risk of danger and injury. For example, sparklers, bottle rockets, and small firecrackers sent around 1,900 people to the emergency room during the 30 days surrounding the Fourth of July last year. Overall, 8,600 people ended up in the emergency room last year due to injuries involving fireworks, with 3 people dying from these injuries.
In Oklahoma, municipalities establish their own ordinances regarding fireworks sales and use. Some areas do not allow lightning of fireworks within their limits. Yet in other areas, fireworks are allowed. Still, even in areas where fireworks are permitted, certain types of fireworks are prohibited. In Oklahoma, skyrockets, including bottle rockets or stick rockets, M-80s, and mail order fireworks are strictly prohibited. If you live in an area that allows fireworks to be set off, please follow the safety tips outlined by the National Council on Fireworks Safety.
- Always read and follow the label directions.
- Have an adult present.
- Buy from reliable sellers.
- Use outdoors only.
- Make sure water is close by.
- Do not experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Do not light a “dud” firework. Wait 15 to 20 minutes than soak in a bucket of water.
- Do not give fireworks to small children.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Dispose properly by putting them in water then disposing them in your trashcan.
- Do not throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Do not carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Do not shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- The shooter should wear eye protection and not have any part of the body over the firework.
- Stay away from illegal explosives.
Oklahomans also need to pay special attention to burn bans in certain areas. For example, officials issued a burn ban for all parts of Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Mixing fireworks with dry land only increases the risk of danger this Fourth of July.
McIntyre Law would like to wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July. Please follow the above safety guidelines and be aware of the laws regarding fireworks in your area.