The 2021 July 4th Weekend is likely to bring a spike in family parties and community gatherings as more and more restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be lifted.
Keeping that in mind the Columbia-Richland Fire Department is once again encouraging area residents to use extreme caution and attentiveness if they plan to set off consumer fireworks.
“Every year the fact remains the same that there is an inherent risk and danger to using consumer fireworks,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “While we don’t want to discourage people from buying fireworks for use at their family parties and cook outs, we do want to stress the importance of following all safety instructions on what you buy. Not doing so could place you and your loved ones at greater risk of suffering a fireworks-related injury.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than 19,500 fires are started by fireworks annually. Sparklers alone can burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and account for roughly one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
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.
Finally PLEASE keep your neighbors and the overall peace of your neighborhood in mind before you set any fireworks off!
The City of Columbia does have an ordinance against ‘unreasonably loud, disturbing or unnecessary noise.’ Fireworks can be found to be in violation of that ordinance if they are deemed a nuisance. Any city resident who has concerns over fireworks being set off should contact the Columbia Police Department.
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. DO NOT grill on your deck!
- 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.
- Always have a fire extinguisher handy in case of an emergency.
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.