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Indiana Fire Marshal's Advice for Fourth of July Safety

Sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets are the fireworks said to cause the majority of injuries. (Pixabay)
Sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets are the fireworks said to cause the majority of injuries. (Pixabay)
July 2, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS — The booms of fireworks are already resonating throughout Indiana communities as Hoosiers gear up to celebrate Independence Day. And officials have some simple rules and tips to keep people safe.

In 2017, 238 cases of fireworks-related injuries were reported in Indiana, with 94 occurring on the Fourth of July. Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson said one-third of those incidents involved someone age 18 or younger.

"Sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets are the probably three most types of consumer fireworks that we get injury reports on,” Greeson said. “And those are typically burns to the hands or the fingers, and things of that nature. So, be extra careful and cautious."

He recommends always following the directions for fireworks, never re-lighting one that fails, and keeping a water source and fire extinguisher nearby. Greeson noted kids should never be allowed to handle or light a firework. Instead, he suggests letting little ones celebrate with a glow stick.

Fireworks are allowed to be set on a person's own property or on someone else's property with permission. They should only be used outdoors in a clear, open area, and Greeson recommends watching the weather conditions.

"Check the wind conditions, because even though they're legal, everyone is responsible for any damage that may be caused by fireworks that they use,” he said. “So, once those bottle rockets get up in the air, that wind can carry them away."

Bottle rockets, ground spinners and cone fountains are legal in Indiana, as are novelty items like sparklers and snaps. Greeson noted Indiana's fireworks laws are middle-of-the-road, and a tax on sales benefits firefighting resources.

"That 5 percent comes back to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and our Fire Marshal's Office for training,” he said. “And that's approximately $2 million a year that is redistributed throughout the state of Indiana for firefighter training. So, it's very important."

The sale of consumer fireworks generated about $885 million in sales nationally in 2017, and is estimated to be as high as $90 million each year in Indiana.

Fireworks safety information is available at IN.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN