HEPBURN TOWNSHIP, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The 4th of July holiday is exactly one week away and some folks are getting an early start with the celebrations, but it’s important to remember safety when using fireworks.
Eyewitness News reporter Jazzmyn Allen has heard the sounds of fireworks every night for about a week now and she’s sure that will increase come this weekend.
First responders urged residents to be cautious when handling any kind of fireworks.
Each year fireworks cause 19,500 fires, according to a report from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).
“People have to understand that they’re responsible for what happens with those fireworks, especially ones that are projectiles. You can’t control where they go,” said David Dymeck, an EMT and Firefighter for the Northern Lycoming County EMS Program.
Under state law, fireworks can’t be dispatched within 150 feet of an occupied structure. Dymeck also said to check your municipality’s guidelines.
“A lot of municipalities have ordinances that limit the times that you can shoot fireworks off and where you can shoot them off,” Dymeck explained.
NFPA said thousands are injured while using fireworks on the July 4th holiday every year. Ralston Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Orr said he’s seen a fair share of accidents throughout his career.
“He had a homemade m-80 type firecracker, the larger one that he had built and the fuse a little bit shorter than what he thought it was and he couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. And it went off in his hand, actually foiled open his hand,” Chief Orr said.
Fire Chief Orr, who’s worked with fireworks displays, said you should be ready to put out a fire if something goes wrong.
“Definitely have a bucket of water to put stuff into. I mean we usually have at least a bucket of water and a couple fire extinguishers on every display that we do so we can douse something if it doesn’t go off,” he explained.
And after you’re done with the used fireworks, be sure to wet them with water and place them inside a metal trash can.