Every year in the United States, we celebrate the Fourth of July with community parades, picnics, barbecues, and fireworks -- the things of which happy memories are made. But sadly, Independence Day also includes tragic events resulting from fireworks use. The safest way to enjoy them is through public displays conducted by professional pyro-technicians hired by communities.
Learning fireworks safety tips also can help ensure that everyone has a happy and safe summer holiday.
What Can I Do?
The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home -- period. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
Kids should never play with fireworks. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (982 degrees Celsius) -- hot enough to melt gold.
Steer clear of others -- fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.
Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured.
Grilling Fire Safety Tips:
Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces such as tents, they pose a fire hazard and a risk of exposing occupants to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not overfill the propane tank.
Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Grills should be positioned at least 10 feet away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Keep matches, lighters and starter fluid out of the reach of children in a locked drawer or cabinet.
Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
Use long barbecue mitts and long-handled grilling tools to protect the chef from heat and flames when cooking.
Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
On behalf of Interim Chief Dru Driscoll and the Daytona Beach Fire Department, have a happy, safe, and enjoyable Independence Day.
Lt. Larry R. Stoney, Public and Community Relations