Howard County fire and police officials are encouraging residents and businesses to keep their celebrations safe and lawful this July 4th holiday.
In Howard County, the sale, possession, and use of ground-based sparklers is prohibited. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $1,000. Party poppers, ignitable “snakes” and “snap ’n’ pops”, and handheld sparklers remain legal. Handheld sparkers can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit which can cause significant injuries, according to the National Fire Protection agency (NFPA).
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 200 people throughout the U.S. go the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries on days surrounding the July 4th holiday. In 2012, there were six deaths and an estimated 8,700 emergency room visits for injuries resulting from fireworks-related incidents. Three out of five (57 percent) of the fireworks injuries were burns, while almost one-fifth (18 percent) were contusions or lacerations. Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone accounted for one-quarter (25 percent) of these emergency room fireworks injuries.
Residents who purchase legal fireworks should take the following precautions from the CPSC:
* Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
* Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
* After a display, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, as they may still be active.
* Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.
* Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
* Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned.
* Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
* Never operate fireworks after consuming alcohol.
* Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of fire.
Douse spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
Remember to avoid alcohol or designate a sober driver before consuming any alcohol this July 4th weekend. Police will be out in extra force working to keep the roads safe. Patrols will be in place to seek out impaired and aggressive drivers.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a display conducted by trained professionals. For more information on the July 4th Howard County fireworks: www.howardcountymd.gov/july4th.htm.