Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks safety

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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Using fireworks is a mainstay of most Americans’ Fourth of July celebrations. Unfortunately, consumer fireworks can also pose a hazard to Tennesseans’ health and safety when used incorrectly.  

Across the USA fireworks were responsible for eight deaths and an estimated 9,700 injuries in 2023, according to a new report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In Tennessee, fire departments responded to 135 fires started by fireworks that caused an estimated $937,649 in direct property damages.

As a reminder, it is illegal to shoot fireworks in the City of Elizabethton. 

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The most important advice is to leave fireworks to the professionals and not purchase consumer fireworks. However, If you live in the county and you decide to shoot fireworks, be sure to follow these important safety tips:

– Never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks. 

– Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. 

– Wear eye protection. 

– Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. 

– Never throw or point fireworks at people or animals. 

– Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, dry leaves, and flammable materials. 

– Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire. 

– Sparklers are not toys and cause hundreds of injuries every year. Sparklers burn hot, can reach temperatures as high as 1,200° F, and stay hot after they’ve burned out.  

In addition to local laws, Tennessee has several state laws pertaining to fireworks: 

A 2007 Tennessee law prevents children under 16 from purchasing fireworks. Those who are 16 or 17 must present a photo ID to purchase fireworks. 

The safest way to celebrate Independence Day with friends, family members, and loved ones is to attend a public fireworks display put on by trained and licensed fireworks professionals.

If you choose to use consumer fireworks to celebrate, you should first familiarize yourselves with local fireworks laws, especially in Elizabethton, where there are ordinances and restrictions related to fireworks usage. Additionally, consumers should always follow all safety guidelines and warnings to help ensure a safe and fun experience for all. 

Our regions will have a number of professional fireworks shows spread over several days around the Fourth of July. These shows are far more dramatic than what can be produced with commercial fireworks, and far safer.

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our nation’s history and our freedoms. It is a time when communities come together to share in our pride.

For far too many, it also becomes a time of tragedy as parents race to take their children to the emergency room, pet owners frantically look for their frightened animals or try to calm them, and property burns.

Celebrate the Fourth safely.