Woodward, Okla. —
As Woodward County residents prepare for July 4th celebrations, local officials encourage citizens to be aware of firework regulations and safety precautions.
Remember, it is illegal to buy, sell and discharge fireworks within city limits. Many area communities enforce firework ordinances because of safety concerns.
According to the National Fire Protection (NFPA) in 2010 alone, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks and 8,600 fireworks- related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, said Melissa Hobbs, Woodward County fire prevention officer.
"On July 4th, 2012 Woodward County firefighters responded to 17 fires caused by fireworks," Hobbs said. "As the Public Education Officer for Woodward County, I encourage citizens to attend public firework displays hosted by your municipality or other responsible organization in order to decrease the chances of fire and burn injuries."
If you choose to have consumer fireworks or an informal neighborhood display, check with your local Fire Department about regulations regarding fireworks. Here are some important safety tips to be followed:
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
• 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.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.
If you have questions or concerns regarding firework regulations and safety, please contact Hobbs at (580) 571-5292.