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DIY Fourth of July? Avoid Injury with These Safety Tips

Professional firework displays will be hard to come by this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  With community celebrations cancelled, more residents are creating their own firework displays at home.  Those celebrating with fireworks should always follow proper safety recommendations.

Valley Regional Fire Authority and Medic One have already responded to a serious firework-related injury this year.  Engine 33 and King County Medic One were dispatched to an aid call in the 2600 block of Auburn Way South at 8:26 pm” Friday night, said VRFA Public Information & Education, Officer Kimberly Terhune. “A male patient was treated for a serious fireworks-related hand injury and airlifted to Harborview Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment.”

Safety Tips from Valley Regional Fire Authority

  • Buy and use only legal fireworks (see below)
  • Follow directions and safety recommendations printed on the fireworks
  • Maintain adult supervision and keep all fireworks out of the hands of children
  • Use fireworks in an area clear of materials that can burn (grass, bark, trees)
  • Keep garden hoses ready
  • Wet down fireworks display area
  • Light one item at a time, move away quickly and keep a safe distance
  • Do not attempt to re-light duds
  • Wait several minutes before disposing of them in water
  • Dispose of used fireworks by first soaking them in water.
  • Trim any tall grass close to buildings or fences
  • Clean all gutters and move burnable materials away from homes
  • Place minor burns in cool water
  • Call 9-1-1 if you need further assistance

Additional tips from the Auburn Examiner:

  • Have a sober firework igniter. Drinking and explosives sounds fun, until you’re in the ER with a nasty injury
  • Focus on the fireworks, not on making a viral video
  • Please don’t put fireworks near any important body parts. (Don’t make us explain this.)
  • Don’t point fireworks at people or have firework fights
  • Keep pets inside

Not a safety tip, but telling your neighbors you’ll be setting off fireworks can go a long way. This will allow them to prepare. That could mean medicating themselves or pets or grabbing snacks to bring over to watch your show.

Firework gif, idiot with firework, Fourth of July, fireworks, blows up or goes up, apd, vrfa, firework display
Please don’t be that guy.

Firework Regulations

It is important to follow Federal, State, and individual city codes regarding firework use.

Auburn and Pacific
Discharge of legal fireworks is allowed
July 4th between the hours of 9 am – 11 pm
You must be 16 years old to purchase legal
fireworks.

Algona
Discharge of all fireworks is illegal
in the City of Algona.

From the Washington State Fire Marshal

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) recognizes that many residents may choose to purchase and discharge fireworks at home this year.

The SFMO encourages those who choose to celebrate with fireworks at home to purchase only from a licensed and permitted retail stand, discharge them only in areas where legally allowed, follow proper safety recommendations, and to be aware of the current requirements related to COVID-19.

For more information visit http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fireworks/ or call (360) 596-3929

What Are Legal Fireworks?

Examples of Legal Fireworks:
Party poppers,
snappers, booby traps, flitter sparklers, cylindrical & cone fountains, illuminating torch wheels, ground spinners, smoke devices.

Examples of Illegal Fireworks*:
ALL aerial devices
& spinners, sky & missile-type rockets, helicopters, roman candles, mines, shells, firecrackers & salutes, chasers, jumping jacks.
*Anything that leaves the ground, or produces a report or explosion is illegal. Any combination of two or more effects is also illegal.
Information provided by VRFA.

Fireworks and Tribal Land

It may be confusing seeing these city codes and hearing all of the fireworks outside of the permitted times. While some fireworks are illegally being set off in residential neighborhoods, by and large, the majority of the fireworks being set off are being done so legally on Muckleshoot Reservation or Tribal Trust land.  The firework stand lot has a large section designated for setting off fireworks.  The posted light times are Sunday-Thursday 11:00 am-10:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday 11:00 am – Midnight.

The city ordinance regulating fireworks does not apply to Tribal Reservations or Tribal Trust land. An excerpt from a 1962 Attorney General opinion from 1962 explains the reasoning for this, “the state of Washington has no civil or criminal jurisdiction over the enrolled members of an Indian tribe for acts occurring within the exterior boundaries of the reservation, unless such tribe has elected to come under the jurisdiction of the state, pursuant to chapter 37.12 RCW.”

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