Celebrating with a boom: Firefighter talks firework safety

CALABASH, NC (WWAY) — The Fourth of July is just around the corner and many people choose to celebrate the nation’s birthday with a boom.

In North Carolina, several people go to pop-up shops to buy sparklers, fountains, and poppers. Some even head across the border into South Carolina to buy fireworks that are illegal in North Carolina, like roman candles and bottle rockets.

For those planning their own legal fireworks shows Calabash Firefighter James Lewis offers some safety tips ahead of the holiday.

“Don’t light off any fireworks around dead grass or dead brush,” Lewis said. “Pay attention to the safety instructions that tell you how far away it needs to be from any permanent structures like houses or fences.”

Avoid pine straw and dry mulch, keep a hose or bucket of water close by, and make sure to douse the fireworks with water once they’re done burning.

“Definitely don’t relight a firework if it does not go off,” Lewis said.

Nationwide, kids aged 10 to 14 have the highest rate of firework-related injuries with more than one-third of victims of fireworks injuries under the age of 15.

A popular item for older children on the fourth are sparklers and they can burn up to 1,200 degrees. The small firework devices account for about a quarter of fireworks-related emergency room visits.

For people looking to play it safe but still want to celebrate, you can try noisemakers, glow sticks, or a good ole’ fashioned birthday party for the U.S.A. complete with a birthday cake.

No matter how you spend your weekend, make sure your happy memories aren’t tarnished by tragedy.

“Everyone wants to have fun, but there’s a safe way to do everything,” Lewis said.

When it comes to purchasing fireworks, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is if it explodes or shoots in the air it’s illegal in N.C., unless you obtain a special permit from your municipality and a license from the Commissioner of Insurance through the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Calabash Fire Department is currently looking for a full-time Firefighter/EMT. For more details, visit here.

For a list of firework shows and other festivities in the Cape Fear, visit here.

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