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Fun but deadly, fireworks demand careful use

by Jason R. Jackson
6th Air Mobility Wing Safety
File photo

Use of fireworks is serious business. Over the last several years, an average of 10,000 people each year in the U.S. received hospital treatment as a result of injuries caused by fireworks. In one year alone, 26 people died as a result of injuries related to fireworks. In that same year, more than $36 million in property damages resulted from fires caused by fireworks.

To help you to have a safe Fourth of July holiday, 6th Air Mobility Wing Safety wants to remind you the MacDill policy is the use of fireworks by individuals is prohibited anywhere on the installation, including the housing areas. The only authorized uses are for military training and for organized 6th Services Squadron events, such as the Beach Fest. Violators may be subject to criminal or disciplinary actions. (Reference: MACDI 32-106, Paragraph 76)

Fireworks include, but are not limited to: firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, snakes, roman candles and sparklers.

Florida state law allows the use of some fireworks (off base) but users must know and follow the ordinances of individual cities and counties. Fireworks prohibited by the state are firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, cherry bombs, M-80s, M-100s and any fireworks containing explosive or propellant compounds. (Reference: Chap 791, FL Statutes Rule 4A-50, FL Admin Code)

Don't take chances with fireworks; they can be very dangerous.

Safety Precautions

When using fireworks off base, you should observe the following precautions:

  1. Remember that fireworks are explosives, not toys, and they must be treated with the same precautions as other explosives.
  2. Do not allow younger children to use fireworks under any circumstances.
  3. Sparklers are often thought to be safe for the young, but they burn at temperatures of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily ignite clothing.
  4. Allow older children to use fireworks only with close adult supervision.
  5. Follow all warnings and instructions on the label of the firework.
  6. Only purchase fireworks from a legal source. Otherwise, they may be dangerously unstable or overly powerful. Also, remember you cannot bring fireworks on base.
  7. Light fireworks outdoors, in a clear area, away from houses and flammable materials. Keep in mind that some fireworks travel and can land on roofs, in dry grass or other areas where they could ignite fires. Be especially careful to never use them around gasoline or other flammable liquids.
  8. Keep water handy for emergencies and to douse fireworks that don't ignite.
  9. Light only one firework at a time. Preferably, wear goggles when lighting them.
  10. Never try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and dispose of them properly.
  11. Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  12. Never hold fireworks while lighting them (except sparklers, of course).
  13. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  14. Do not use aerial fireworks (those that shoot into the sky) when there is lightning in the area. The lightning can strike the carbon trail left by the firework and follow the trail to the ground, striking you.
  15. Never experiment with or make your own fireworks.
  16. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Check the instructions on the items for special storage instructions.

Follow these precautions, use common sense and have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.

 

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