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Keep fireworks displays safe, legal

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.

Comments

comments

One Response to Keep fireworks displays safe, legal

  1. Ben

    July 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Pulaski was out in full force last night ruining celebrations. Independence Day without independence. Ironic at best.

    Come on. With all this rain almost nothing would be a fire hazard. There’s just a lot of money to be made on fines. (Virginia law allows for a $2500 fine for fireworks. Even imprisonment. Although you can be sure Pulaski would pad the coffers with a fine!)

    That said, the Fire Marshall was terse, but explained what is legal under Virginia law, and left with the threat of a class 1 misdemeanor and confiscation if he was to return. (There’s no doubt that he would have made good on it if his warning was ignored.)

    However, enforcement was spotty, if not random, at best. Fireworks were going off all around us as the Fire Marshall explained the law, what he could do, what he was going to do, and the consequences of him returning. He didn’t seem to make a dent in exploding skies around us.

    It is indeed state law, but it’s another ridiculous law. Fireworks are a greater offense than robbing someone? How stupid can we get? Robbing someone carries carry less of a punishment than possession a bottle rocket.

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