West Columbia fire chief gives safety tips for upcoming Independence Day celebrations

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Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 8:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 3, 2022 at 8:53 PM EDT
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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - There has been a spike in fireworks-related injuries over the last 15 years, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, with a 25 percent increase in fireworks injuries between 2006 and 2021.

With Independence Day celebrations going on tonight, and into tomorrow, West Columbia Fire Chief Marquis Solomon shared some tips to be mindful of if lighting fireworks.

The CPSC also reported that 11,500 people were treated in the Emergency Room last year due to fireworks related injuries.

West Columbia Fire Chief Marquis Solomon says fireworks provide a lot of entertainment but wants to remind the community to be cautious when using them.

“They are actually explosive devices. Those are things we don’t really consider, so with that, we really ask that people, if they have children that are shooting fireworks, that they stand close by. Over a quarter of the injuries we see are to the age group between 10 and 14,” Chief Solomon said.

The injuries Solomon says are typically seen on this day are burns on people’s hands and arms from holding the popular pyrotechnic devices.

Another way to stay safe before lighting fireworks is to read the box. There are usually safety tips listed on them.

“If you try to light a firework, and it doesn’t ignite, please don’t try to light it again. Just toss it to the side, and get another one because we do see a lot of injuries from secondary lighting incidents,” Solomon said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 74 percent of fireworks injuries occurred on the week of July 4th in 2021.

Chief Solomon says some people pick up fireworks and forget they burn at high temperatures, with some handheld sparklers reaching up to 1200 degrees.

Home fireworks are actually banned every day of the year in West Columbia city limits, except for July 4. Fireworks celebrations can begin starting as early as 9 a.m. tomorrow but must be done by 11 p.m.

“Let’s just make sure that we are being safe, and smart and always have adult supervision when shooting fireworks because they are dangerous.”

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