Warning from local officials: Using fireworks can injure, maim and kill

The weekend and days surrounding Independence Day typically present hazards of fire and burn injuries. The most common involve fireworks or sparklers use, cooking grills and wood decks, according to the Fire Marshal’s Office of the Shelton Fire Department.

Ted Pisciotta, Shelton assistant chief of fire prevention, said everyone should seriously consider the tragic consequences that a sudden mishap involving fireworks or a hot sparkler could cause. Physical injuries could last a lifetime, Pisciotta said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) points out that fireworks can have a life-altering impact on consumers, including severe eye injuries, loss of limbs, and even death. Last year, CPSC received reports of six men who were killed by professional-grade, homemade or banned firework devices.

About 8,700 treated for fireworks injuries

In addition, an estimated 8,700 people were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets, fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered safe for young children.

This is in addition to fires ignited by fireworks that result in property damage.

Some Fourth of July fire safety tips

The Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau encourages everyone to consider the following:

— Treat all fireworks as being suitable only for use by trained professionals. Attend public firework displays that are pre-arranged under controlled conditions. Stay back at least 500 feet from professional fireworks displays.

— Avoid use of sparklers that can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National fire Protection Association. That is over three times hotter than it takes to bake a cake, and over five times hotter than it takes to boil water — and certainly hot enough to burn skin or ignite a fire.

— Children should never hold, or be in close proximity, to a sparkler. State law requires buyers and users to be age 16 or older. However, it should be understood that these devices may be dangerous to individuals of any age.

Propane tanks, smoking, decorative torches

— Locate grills and any propane tanks a safe distance from buildings, wooden decks and other combustibles. Never store propane indoors.

— Only use charcoal starter fluids designed for grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.

— Avoid smoking on a wood deck. If you permit smoking, use suitable disposal containers or ashtrays. Never use paper or plastic cups, napkins, etc.

— Avoid use of candles, open flame insect repellents, or decorative torches. If these should be used, place in safe locations away from anything that can burn or where such items could be accidentally knocked over.

Be sure smoke alarms are working

Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Be sure all household members know when and how to call 9-1-1 for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

For more information, the public can call the Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau at 203-924-1555, or go online to “Public Safety” at www.cityofshelton.org.