Fire marshal urges Fourth of July safety with fireworks

CHARLESTON — Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks is a tradition about as old as the nation itself, and one that West Virginians have enthusiastically embraced. But that’s no excuse to take a holiday from common sense and safety.

Now that consumer fireworks are legal here – and widely available at brick-and-mortar stores as well as seasonal tents – the W.Va. State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds residents of these tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

– Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
– Obey local laws.
– Parents and caretakers must closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
– Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
– Know your fireworks. Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
– Have a designated shooter organize and shoot your family show.
– Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
– Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
– Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
– Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
– Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
– Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
– Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
– Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks. Use them only in their intended manner.
– Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

Fireworks that are legally allowed to be sold by retailers include:

– Hand-held and ground-based sparkling devices, such as sparklers, novelties, toy caps and model rockets
– Bottle rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopter and aerial spinners
– Roman candles, multi-aerial mine and shell devices, reloadable aerial shell kits
– Firecrackers

All retailers in West Virginia pay a fireworks safety fee toward their licenses, the proceeds of which benefit volunteer fire departments and veterans.

West Virginia’s local municipalities can also implement their own laws and restrictions pertaining to the use of consumer fireworks. They can set the times during the day fireworks can be set off, for example. Please check first to see if your city or town has any of these restrictions before lighting or using fireworks.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!