Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-280-0694
Media Information Line: 703-324-3000
As the Fourth of July holiday nears, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reminds residents that public fireworks displays are the safest and most suitable alternative to view fireworks. Public display fireworks are established under a controlled setting, safety regulations, and monitored by public safety organizations.
Every year, thousands of Americans, many of them children, are victims of fireworks accidents. Many are serious. Fingers, hands, faces, and eyes are easy targets for fragments of burning or exploding fireworks. In 2006, 9,200 fireworks related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms. Also in 2006, 90 percent of emergency room fireworks injuries involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use. In 2005, an estimated 2,500 reported structure or vehicle fires were started by fireworks. The risk of fire death relative to exposure shows fireworks to be the riskiest consumer product for death due to fire, this according the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Firecrackers have been known to explode the instant the fuse is ignited, sometimes severing fingers or causing eye or facial injuries. Bottle rockets, commonly used by consumers, often misfire, landing on roofs, in dry grass, or striking people.
Many people consider sparklers to be safe. When fully ignited, a sparkler can reach a temperature of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which can quickly ignite clothing and cause serious burns. For children under 10, sparklers are generally the most frequent cause of fireworks injuries.
Many fireworks are not available in Northern Virginia because they are illegal. Firecrackers, cherry bombs, and skyrockets are just a few examples of fireworks which may be purchased in other areas but are illegal in Virginia. Since even the possession of unapproved fireworks is prohibited in Fairfax County, such fireworks will be confiscated and persons possessing them will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail. All fireworks that explode, emit a flame, sparks, or performs as a projectile higher than 12 feet are prohibited by the Fairfax County Fire Prevention Code.
Fireworks safety tips include:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Ensure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Avoid buying or handling fireworks packaged in brown paper as they are often commercial or display type fireworks made for professional fireworks shows.
- Adults should always supervise activities involving fireworks. Sparklers cause more injuries to children ten and under than any other type of firework.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that did not fully function or ignite.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of fire or mishap.
- Light one firework at a time, back to safety immediately after lighting.
- Keep all bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry area.
- Read fireworks directions before using.
Public fireworks displays will take place at various locations throughout Fairfax County over the Fourth of July weekend. Locations include the following:
July 3, 2008
- Belle Haven Country Club 6023 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria, Virginia
- Chantilly National Golf Club 14901 Braddock Road, Centreville, Virginia
July 4, 2008
- International Town Country Club 13200 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Fairfax, Virginia
- Lake Fairfax Park 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston, Virginia
- River Bend Golf and Country Club 375 Walker Road, Great Falls, Virginia
- Langley High School 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Virginia
- Vienna Elementary School 128 Center Street, Vienna, Virginia
- Lake Barcroft Association Beach 3 Waterway Drive, Falls Church, Virginia
- Lee District Park 6601 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, Virginia
- Country Club of Fairfax 5110 Ox Road, Fairfax, Virginia
- Westwood Country Club 800 Maple Avenue, Vienna, Virginia
- Springfield Golf and Country Club 8301 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield, Virginia
Special Note: The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Fire Chief's Committee will host a Fireworks Safety Demonstration, Friday, June 20, 2008, at 10:30 a.m. The demonstration will take place at the Washington DC Fire/EMS Training Academy, 4600 Shepherd Parkway, SW. Fire Marshals from all jurisdictions in the metropolitan area will be present to discuss fireworks safety for media representatives.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Lieutenant Raúl G. Castillo, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.