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
News Release 09-48
Date: June 26, 2009
Fourth of July celebrations signify summer fun, vacations, and the gathering of family and friends; although Independence Day can also bring tragedy to thousands of people, particularly children, who are victims of fireworks accidents.
The majority of these accidents are preventable. Hundreds of mishaps happen each year, causing serious injuries to the eyes, fingers, arms, hands, face, and ears, from burning or exploding fireworks.
According to the United States National Fire Academy, in 2007, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,800 people for fireworks related injuries. Forty percent of people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
Of special note, many people consider sparklers to be safe; however, when fully ignited, a sparkler can reach a temperature of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which can easily ignite clothing and cause serious burns.
Firecrackers, cherry bombs, and skyrockets are some of the illegal fireworks in Virginia. 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.
Fireworks Safety Tips
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the many public displays; however, if you are having a home fireworks display, here are some safety guidelines to follow:
- Follow the manufacturer directions.
- Have water available for extinguishment of discarded fireworks or an emergency.
- Place legally purchased fireworks on a flat surface, clear of combustible materials and clear of all buildings.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.
- Do not permit young children to handle or light fireworks.
(Sparklers can reach a temperature of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.)
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger, 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.