Plan Ahead for Fireworks Safety

by Allison Strupeck, PIO/Community Outreach Coordinator, Prevention Division
Pflugerville Fire Dept./Travis County ESD No. 2

Please respect your neighbors if you choose to light fireworks.  This year, July 4th falls on a weeknight when many families will be working the next day.  Keep in mind that the sound of fireworks can be very stressful for some veterans and others who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It also scares many dogs and other pets.

Remember that fireworks are NOT legal to use on or around schools and Travis County parks.  They’re also not legal on Wells Branch Municipal Utility District (MUD) property, which includes all MUD facilities, parks, trails, greenbelts, the Pond, drainage detention areas, the veloway, and the grassy area located at Robert I. Walker and Charla Circle.

But if you choose to light fireworks in a safe, legal location, Travis County ESD No. 2 (Pflugerville Fire Dept.) wants you to better understand the dangers of fireworks and work together as a family to stay safe.  Rather than risking your safety with personal fireworks, we strongly recommend checking out a professional fireworks show.  A great option in this area is the 4th Fest in Wells Branch!  Here are other safety tips for your family:

Make Fireworks a Family Activity

  • Before the holiday, make a point to discuss fireworks safety with everyone in your family to decrease the chance of someone getting hurt.
  • Never let children purchase fireworks without parents there — even older kids.
  • Insist on adult supervision whenever fireworks are being lit – even for older youth. Children age 10 to 14 years old actually get the second-most number of fireworks burns and injuries, right behind preschoolers and toddlers!
  • Kids who are younger than kindergarten-age should never be allowed to hold any fireworks on their own, including sparklers. Sparklers reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal.  Give little kids glow-sticks instead.  Pass the sparklers to much older kids and adults to carefully light ONE at a time – ideally wearing gloves.

Preparing to Light Fireworks

  • Only light fireworks OUTSIDE on a flat surface that’s far from any homes or buildings. Don’t light fireworks near dry grass or leaves –  you can catch them on fire.
  • Before you light a firework, take a good look around to be sure there aren’t any people or pets in range of possibly getting hurt.
  • Don’t lean over firework devices or place your hand over them when lighting. Immediately back up as far as you can after lighting!  The body parts that suffer the most fireworks injuries are fingers, hands, eyes, face, and ears.

Safely Disposing of Fireworks

  • Don’t try to re-light fireworks that didn’t work on the first try! Leave them alone, then thoroughly soak them in water with a bucket or hose before you try to handle them.
  • Double-wrap ALL fireworks in plastic before throwing them in the trash. The same is true for a firework you find sitting on the ground that looks like it’s been used.  It may still be active and could re-ignite in your hand or pocket.
  • Fireworks are poisonous to pets. Symptoms may include vomiting, a painful abdomen, and bloody diarrhea. Be sure not to leave behind any used fireworks where pets (yours or someone else’s) spend time.

Remember to Stop, Drop and Roll

  • TEACH children and REMIND adults to Stop, Drop, and Roll with their eyes covered if their clothing or hair catches fire. NEVER run or walk around if on fire! After the fire on the person is put out, remove any burned clothing then wrap the person in a clean, dry blanket to keep them warm until help arrives.

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