Councilman Mike Elam's Blog

Jun 28

[ARCHIVED] Happy, Safe Fourth of July

The original item was published from June 28, 2017 9:26 AM to June 28, 2017 9:31 AM


Many St. Charles County residents will celebrate our nation’s independence over the next several days. A festive Fourth of July often includes time outside with family and friends, grilling at backyard barbecues, and possibly, fireworks. However, if not properly monitored, high temperatures, changing weather forecasts, and explosive fireworks can turn this joyful celebration into one that endangers people and their pets.

The unpredictable nature of fireworks contributes to the possibility for serious injuries, fires and unintended fears. Parents and other adults should be aware of the potential for danger and take steps to create a safe and happy Fourth of July for all.
American Flag and fireworks photo

Oohs, Ahhs and Ouches
Every year, thousands of Americans end up celebrating their Fourth of July holidays in hospital emergency rooms with firework-related injuries. Burns to the hands, face and legs are the most commonly reported ailments. Hospital records show that nearly 40 percent of those injuries occur in children ages 14 and under, despite warnings that young children should never ignite fireworks. One explanation for these injuries comes through the use of sparklers, which — despite their friendly appeal — burn at temperatures near 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flame Out
In addition to injuries, the sparks from fireworks are responsible for costly fire damage. The National Fire Protection Association reports that fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires every year, sparking homes, vehicles and lawns. These unintended fires from aerials, rockets, fountains and other displays cause numerous injuries and more than $20 million in property damage.

Fireworks and Fido
Photo of a Jack Russell terrier holding an American flag in his mouthMany pets become frightened by the blasts and flashing light from fireworks. Local animal shelters often experience an increase in the amount of impounds, as unexplained loud noises can cause dogs and cats to escape from homes and yards. Plan to keep your dog or cat calm during the holiday week by bringing your pet indoors to a dark and secure location. Check your pet’s identification tag and update your microchip information, in the event that your dog or cat may run away. Lastly, be aware that many of these fireworks and their residue can include toxic substances or harmful metals that could burn your animal’s paws or fur and cause serious dangers if ingested.

Safer Sparks

St. Charles County ordinance allows the proper display of fireworks between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m., July 2 to 5. County Police will confiscate fireworks discharged unlawfully or outside permitted hours. To report unlawful use of fireworks, please call 636-949-3000.

If using fireworks is permitted in your neighborhood, make certain to store and light them properly. 
Read and review all manufacturer warnings and instructions before purchasing an item. The American Pyrotechnics Association offers these additional safety tips:
  • Fireworks should be lit by adults.
  • Light fireworks one at a time on a smooth, flat surface that is away from people. Do not light them inside a container, especially a glass or metal container that may explode.
  • Set off fireworks in a clear area that is located away from homes, dry leaves or other flammable material.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to collect spent fireworks or to soak unexploded devices. Do not attempt to re-light “duds” or malfunctioning fireworks.

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