By TODD GARWOOD
Pulaski Fire Marshal
Fourth of July firework displays will light up the skies this week but at what cost? The Pulaski Fire Marshal’s Office wants to make sure your fireworks don’t spark any unsafe or illegal behavior.
The Fire Marshal is reminding people who plan to host holiday celebrations that legal fireworks in Virginia do not rise into the air, shoot across the ground or explode. Small fireworks like fountains and sparklers are legal in Virginia.
Also under the VA Statewide Fire Prevention Code, the fire official is authorized to seize/remove any illegal fireworks whether in use or merely in possession. Once illegal fireworks are seized, the owner is responsible for the cost of proper disposal.
Legal firework shows are done by technicians that are trained, insured, certified and have proper permits which are issued by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Some important facts to consider:
•In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.
•These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
•In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 61 percent of emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 34 percent were to the head.
•The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19 and adults 25-44.
•On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day. Fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
The fire marshal reminds parents that children should never handle any type of firework.
Should you have any question concerning fireworks or wish to report any illegal firework activity, call the Pulaski Fire Marshal’s Office at 994-8664 or Pulaski Police Department at 994-8680.