4th of July fireworks can be fun… and dangerous

Local News

BURTON, S.C. (WSAV) – COVID-19 has shut down many local fireworks shows, which means more people may be ready to put on a show for their own.

But with those backyard fireworks comes potential dangers. Ten thousand people were injured last year in fireworks accidents. Twelve of those died.

Families want to have some fun on the Fourth of July and show off for the kids. In some cases, safety goes out the window and someone gets hurt.

“They look at fireworks as entertainment and forget the fact they are explosives,” said Cpt. Daniel Byrne of the Burton Fire Department.

“Total Chaos” is the name of the firework which can be found at just about any fireworks store around the area.

Burton Fire Department put it to the test on Friday. They hung a styrofoam head from a hook, simulating someone who wanted to see if it was working or not.

“The wicks burn quickly and they don’t always burn at the same rate, so ignore it and get as far away as you possibly can,” said Byrne.

Next up, a hand filled with meat to simulate a human hand, holding a firecracker. The explosion tore through the rubber “flesh” — a visual reminder of what can happen.

“They are explosives,” the captain said, “they will take limbs with them and cause pretty significant burns.”

It is not just injuries; the fire dangers are very real.

“Once they set off they can go anywhere into someone’s eyes, into their hair, into the bushes,” explained Byrne.

That’s why he says you have to be respectful of what you buy and where and when you light it.

“There are some that you can,” said Byrne. “Some that are outlawed and some that are federally banned explosives. So you really need to be careful about what you are buying/purchasing and setting off in your backyard.”

Byrne recommends you make a safety zone, find an open area away from people and houses. Have a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby, and don’t hang around to see what happens next.

Without a safety plan, you may not like the answer.

“Safety first. Think of the wildest, craziest thing that could happen and plan for that,” he said.

Even sparklers burn at 1800 degrees, and with COVID-19 still here, many will have hand sanitizer ready. Remember: that is made of alcohol which when hit with flame or a spark can go up in seconds.

So keep it away from your fireworks show and err on the side of safety so it can be a happy Fourth for everyone.

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