SPRINGFIELD – As communities across Illinois are preparing for Fourth of July holiday celebrations, the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is reminding residents that the best way to have a safe holiday weekend is to let trained professionals handle fireworks. The public is urged to attend public firework displays and avoid using consumer fireworks.
“Every year around the Fourth of July, we see people, sometimes small children, suffer terrible injuries due to fireworks,” said Larry Matkaitis, State Fire Marshal. “There is no such thing as a safe firework. It’s not worth taking the risk of using illegal or consumer fireworks that could ruin the life of you and your loved ones.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2011 fireworks caused 9,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks alone accounted for 34 percent of those injuries. During the same year, fire departments responded to 17,800 fires caused by fireworks.
In Illinois last year, 76 emergency incidents were linked to the use of fireworks. Residents are reminded that under the Illinois Fireworks Act (425ILCS 35/1), it is illegal to possess, purchase or use consumer fireworks without a consumer display permit obtained from local authorities. Since 2013, sky lanterns were also included in the list of illegal fireworks in Illinois. Individuals caught with controlled consumer fireworks without the necessary display permit could be subject to arrest.
According to NFPA, most of the injuries involving fireworks are children between 5 and 14 years old. Consumer fireworks also carry a high risk of accidents and serious injuries. Firecrackers and sparklers, which are considered to be harmless, can burn at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Fireworks use can endanger users, bystanders, and surrounding properties and structures.
The OSFM and NFPA are opposed to consumer use of fireworks. This includes sparklers and firecrackers. Even sparklers burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
For more information about fireworks safety please visit the OSFM website at www.sfm.illinois.gov.