With the threat of COVID-19 still strong across the state of South Carolina, many residents will be turning to the July 4th weekend for fun and some feeling of normalcy this year.
However, the fire department once again wants to remind residents that any holiday celebration can be ruined if safety guidelines are ignored. This is especially the case during the Independence Day holiday when many citizens are expected to use consumer fireworks.
“We want everyone to have fun and enjoy the holiday with their close family and loved ones,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “If using fireworks is part of your recipe for a great party feel free to use them. At the same time we ask everyone to realize that there is responsibility that comes with each firework you set off. It doesn’t matter how small your get together is the event could be ruined if fireworks are handled in an unsafe manner.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires over the course of 2018. During that same year 9,100 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.
CRFD is encouraging everyone to put safety first when using any fireworks by following these safety tips.
- Attend a professional show instead of holding your own.
- Always read and follow directions on each firework.
- Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass, and trees.
- Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.
- Wear protective eye glasses and gloves.
- Never hold a lit firework item in your hand.
- Adults should always handle fireworks and not children.
Also, if your plans for the July 4th holiday include a cookout, please keep these tips in mind for outdoor grilling:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed at least 10 feet away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
For charcoal grills:
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.