EXETER, RI -- If you're planning to use fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, the Rhode Island Division of State Fire Marshal urges you to do so carefully.
"Fireworks can be fun, but they're also dangerous," said Fire Marshal John Chartier. "The use of consumer fireworks, such as those that can be legally purchased in Rhode Island, results in thousands of injuries nationwide each year."
Fireworks pose the risk of serious burns, eye injuries and other injuries. The risk is highest for young children, especially those under age 10.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 12,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries in 2015; about 2,000 of those were eye injuries. Sparklers accounted for one quarter of the fireworks-related injuries.
The use of fireworks also results in an estimated 18,500 fires each year; about one-quarter of all fires reported on July 4 in any given year are attributed to fireworks.
Chartier urges everyone to use fireworks safely and offers the following tips:
• Obey all state and local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
• Use fireworks outside, in a clear area, away from buildings, vehicles and trees.
• Always have a bucket of water and a hose connected to water nearby.
• Never let young children handle any type of firework, including sparklers.
• Point fireworks away from people, homes, trees and combustible materials.
• Wear safety glasses when using fireworks. Light one at a time and move away quickly.
• If a firework doesn't ignite, don't try to re-light it. Douse it in water instead.
• Keep pets indoors when fireworks are being used.
"Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but people often don't realize just how dangerous they can be," noted Fire Chief Richard G. Petrin, President of the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs. "The safest way to enjoy them is to go to a fireworks show in your community and let the experts handle the fireworks display. Consumers and licensed fireworks retailers must make safety their top priority and responsibility."