“Things to Know” About Fireworks & the 4th of July

June 26, 2009

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 – Teams from the City of Madison Fire Department and Police Department will again patrol neighborhoods during the timeframe surrounding the 4th of July, as part of a initiative to reduce the use of illegal fireworks.

Under City of Madison ordinances only sparklers, snakes, snaps, caps and party poppers are legal within the City limits.

The intention of the stepped-up enforcement is 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. Teams of police and fire prevention officers have been designated to patrol neighborhoods. 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, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day; fireworks account for half of those fires.
o In 2005, fireworks caused an estimated 1,800 total structure fires and 700 vehicle fire
o These 2,500 fires resulted in an estimated 60 civilian injuries and $39 million in direct property damage.
o In 2006, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,200 people for fireworks-related injuries.
o One-third of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
o The risk of fireworks injury was two-and-a-half times as high for children ages 10-14 as for the general population.
o Sparklers, fountains, and novelties alone accounted for 28% of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2006.
o The risks with fireworks are not limited to displays, public or private – risks exist wherever fireworks are manufactured, transported, or stored.

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, 608-266-5947