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Children are most at risk with fireworks

Statement issued Thursday:

INDIANAPOLIS – As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, many Hoosiers are looking forward to celebrating the holiday with fireworks. The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding citizens that fireworks can be dangerous, especially when handled by children, and is encouraging fireworks’ consumers to follow a few common sense safety tips to help keep the festivities safe.

“On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day,” says Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “Half of these fires are caused by the mishandling of fireworks and result in millions of dollars in property damage. Consumers should always use fireworks responsibly to avoid potential injuries to themselves, spectators and firefighters.”

The Indiana Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Fireworks safety for children

According to the National Fire Protection Association, two out of five people injured by fireworks are under the age of 15, and children ages 10-14 are the most at risk from fireworks. Compared with the general population, they are more than twice as likely to be injured.

Despite their seemingly relative harmlessness, sparklers and small firecrackers cause the most fireworks-related injuries. Sparklers burn at about 1200 (degrees) Fahrenheit which is 300o hotter than the temperature at which glass melts. Glow sticks or glow sparklers make an excellent alternative to sparklers, especially for young children.

General fireworks safety

  • Only purchase and light 1.4G consumer fireworks. Examples include bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
  • Do not alter any fireworks device or attempt to make your own fireworks.
  • Use a clear, open area and keep your audience a safe distance from the ignition site.
  • Light one firework item at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
  • Never let children handle, play with, or light any fireworks.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, hose, bucket of water or other water source nearby.
  • Be cautious when lighting fireworks when it is windy.
  • Never smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while handling fireworks.
  • Never aim, point, or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Use fireworks outdoors, never indoors.

Fireworks laws

  • Only individuals 18 years of age or older may purchase fireworks.
  • In general, fireworks may be discharged on some holidays, including Independence Day, from 9 a.m. to midnight. On most other days of the year, fireworks may be discharged from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. However, check with local officials about when you can discharge fireworks, as local ordinances may further restrict usage.
  • Fireworks may be discharged only on your property, the property of someone who has granted permission, or at designated discharge locations.
  • Know the laws for your area and obey them! Penalties are in place for violation of Indiana’s fireworks laws.
  • Contact your local fire department if you have any questions about acceptable fireworks practices in your area.

For more information about fireworks laws and safety tips about using fireworks, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.

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