"Things to Know" About Fireworks & the 4th of July

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 3:18am

The coming week promises spectacular pyrotechnics, heat, and plenty of festivities. The City of Madison Fire Department has some tips on how to enjoy all of it safely and legally.

For Rhythm & Booms -
This event has a great history in terms of safety, in part because the organizers and pyrotechnicians work closely with the Fire Department to ensure all best practices in safety.
City of Madison Fire Inspectors are on site at set-up, during the event and afterwards to ensure codes are followed, a safe perimeter is established, and any leftover shells are disposed of properly.

The Department encourages attendance at public displays as a superior alternative to backyard pyrotechnics both in terms of quality and safety.

The most common health and safety issues at Rhythm & Booms can most often be prevented with some simple steps:
• Apply sunscreen liberally and throughout the day, as the sunscreen can lose its effectiveness over time.
• Stay hydrated with lots of water - moderate any intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they do not hydrate effectively.
• Respect perimeters on the grounds. A cordoned-off area indicates that area has been determined to be a spot where more debris is expected to fall.
• If you are near the launch site, it is appropriate to use eye-protection. One of the most common complaints for EMS service is foreign objects in the eye as a result of falling debris.
• Persons with respiratory ailments, such as asthma, are encouraged to locate farther away from the launch site for better air quality.
• Leave fireworks, grills, and pets at home. The number of people at this event makes any of these "bringalongs" a hazard to those around you.

City Fireworks Ordinances -
Under City of Madison ordinances only sparklers, snakes, snaps, caps and party poppers are legal within the City limits.
The City of Madison Fire Department is working to change behaviors, reduce the possession and limit the use of prohibited fireworks in Madison.

The ultimate goal is to improve community safety and quality of life.

A citation bail amount of $172, and fines of up to $1000 plus court costs may be levied against individuals found to be using fireworks in violation of City ordinances, even for a first offense.

As a first step, the Fire and Police Departments are urging residents to stop this trend with a simple message regarding fireworks: Don't buy them; don't use them.

Facts About Fireworks:

o On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
o In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.
o These fires resulted in no reported deaths, and an estimated 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.
o In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries.
o Half (51%) of the 2009 fireworks injuries were burns, while one-quarter (25%) were contusions and lacerations.
o Two of five (39%) people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
o The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 10-14 with more than twice the risk for the general population.
o Sparklers and novelties alone accounted for 32% of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2009.

Source: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947