Hays County Fire Marshal Urges Caution with Fourth of July Fireworks, Outdoor Grilling
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Hays County Fire Marshal Clint Browning reminds residents who plan to set off fireworks or cook outdoors this Fourth of July holiday to be very careful because of the extremely dry weather and the ease in which stray sparks could start grass and brush fires.
“While the drought index was below the threshold for banning fireworks with sticks and fins by the deadline of June 15, please remember that much of our environment is very dry, and grass and brush fires ignite easily,” Browning said. “If you plan to set off fireworks of any kind, be sure that there is a water source nearby, and that all fireworks litter is cleaned up and placed in a safe, fireproof container or doused in water before you leave the area. The same goes for outdoor grilling – make sure your grill fire is out before you leave the area.” Although there is a burn ban in place in the unincorporated areas of Hays County, outdoor grilling is allowed in a grill with a lid. Open fires, burn barrels, and fire pits are not allowed, nor is any type of fire at Hays County parks.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) notes that while summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades, and fireworks displays, along with the festivities are plenty of visits to emergency rooms – especially during July.
In 2016, at least four people died and about 11,100 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And while the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, thousands were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers – sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and are not considered safe for young children.
Fireworks Safety Tips from Hays County Fire Marshal Clint Browning
Buy from reputable fireworks vendors; never try to make your own fireworks.
Read and follow label directions, warnings, and safety instructions.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Keep children and pets away.
Young children can suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
Never place any part of your body over the fireworks when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance after the fuse is lit.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person, an animal, or a vehicle.
Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of fire.
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly. Never twist fuses together to set off more than one at a time.
Never carry fireworks in your pockets or set them off in a metal or glass container.
After fireworks have finished burning, douse them with water from a container or garden hose to avoid a trash fire.
Eye and hearing protection is strongly recommended.
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. Fireworks are not allowed in Hays County parks. The sale or possession of fireworks are banned in most incorporated cities in Hays County.
If you live in an area where fireworks are used, make sure your pets have identification or keep them indoors. Be extra watchful for persons near roadways who might be setting off fireworks after dark.