WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Fireworks are a tradition this time of year, but like anything else you have to be careful.
“People treat them as toys or something that’s taken for granted,” said Chief James O’Brien with the West Haven Fire Department.
As you have fun over the holiday weekend with friends and family keep in mind their are do’s and don’ts. First, anything that shoots off the ground is illegal in Connecticut. You want to make sure what you’re using says ‘Emits Showers of Sparks’ on the packaging. If so, that means it’s legal.
One of the more dangerous fireworks are sparklers. They are very popular and may seem harmless, but they account for the majority of firework-related injuries. Specifically burns to the hands/fingers. It’s also important you dispose of them properly, making sure they are not still burning or hot when throwing them in the trash. That could start a fire.
“For educational purposes in the state of Connecticut you’re required to be 16 years of age or older to even use a sparkler,” said Keith Flood, fire marshal of West Haven. It’s recommended there’s parental supervision if young kids are using sparklers.
Connecticut is in the middle of a drought so it won’t take much for a flame or spark to ignite dry grass or brush. Fireworks can even pose a hazard to your house. That’s why you should not ignite or set them off too close to any structure.
“If it lands on the roof it gets under the roofing material and heats up the roofing material and causes the fire to ignite,” said Flood.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2013 fireworks caused 15,600 fires across the country. In 2014, 10,500 people were sent to the hospital with burns.
If you are using illegal fireworks and something goes wrong do not hesitate to call for help. Especially if a firework does not ignite.
“How you receive the firework is not our main concern,” said Chief O’Brien. “Versus your safety.”
If you want a big show, leave that to the professionals.