SEATTLE, Wash. -- Weather forecasts are mixed in the Pacific Northwest for this year’s Fourth of July observances, but however the weather turns out, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) warn that careless handling of fireworks and outdoor grills can ruin parties and picnics – and entire summers. More than 30,000 fires are attributed to fireworks every year, and according to Dennis Hunsinger, FEMA Acting Regional Administrator for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, more than half of those occur the first week in July.
“The best way to enjoy fireworks is through public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals,” said Hunsinger. “Summertime should be a source for fun and fond memories—not tragedy, recrimination or crippling financial burdens.”
If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Store fireworks in a dry, cool place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
USFA, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, serves the American public and the nation’s fire services through training, data collection and analysis, public fire education, and fire protection technology research. For more information, visit: http://www.usfa.fema.gov.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.