Fire officials in the cities of Virginia Beach and Norfolk want residents to be aware that fireworks are illegal for non-permitted use and they recommend residents go to professional fireworks shows to celebrate the Fourth of July.
National studies regarding fireworks offer a sound argument for municipal bans on consumer fireworks, officials with the Virginia Beach Fire Department said.
In 2017 alone, there were at least eight deaths and 12,900 injuries from fireworks-related incidents, with more than 36 percent of injuries involving children younger than 15 years old, according to the most recent figures from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The CPSC’s 2015 Fireworks Annual Report revealed some significant numbers about fires and property damage related to fireworks.
- In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires in the U.S., including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires.
- More than one-quarter (28 percent) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day. Nearly half (47 percent) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.
The Virginia Beach Fire Department also would like residents to be aware of the danger of sparklers.
Consumer Product Safety Commission data show sparklers alone accounted for more than one one-quarter (28 percent) of the emergency room fireworks injuries seen from June 20-July 20, 2014.
“Parents don’t often realize that sparklers burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees, and that is hot enough to melt some metals,” said Patty Davis, a spokeswoman for the CPSC.
The city of Norfolk also shared some grilling safety tips and facts.
July is grilling season but it also happens to be the peak month for grill fires, according to reports from Norfolk Fire and Rescue.
Officials said in the U.S. 10,000 home fires are started by grills each year and 19,000 patients go to the Emergency Room for injuries involving grills.
The following safety tips have been provided by Norfolk Fire and Rescue:
- Grills should only be used outdoors.
- Keep grills away from homes, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Clean grease or fat buildup from the grill and trays.
- Never leave a grill unattended.
Those who have questions about grill safety or fire safety in general should contact the fire marshal.
If an emergency arises, residents should call 911.