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State Fire Marshal Office urges careful use of fireworks

Des Moines, IOWA — The members of the State Fire Marshal Office would like to remind Iowans and their guests to exercise care when using legal fireworks during the July 4th holiday.  Legal fireworks include snakes, sparklers and caps.  Please read the instructions carefully and DO NOT modify or bundle individual fireworks in any manner.

Illegal fireworks remain a cause of serious concern.  Those igniting illegal fireworks are subject to a fine for a simple misdemeanor.  Should property damage or personal injury occur the person igniting the illegal fireworks could be held criminally and/or civilly responsible as well.

The National Fire Protection Association reports the following statistics for 2011:

  • Fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.
  • 2011 fireworks fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 61% of 2011 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19, and adults 25-44.
  • On July 4th in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
  • For additional information, please use the link below.

In Iowa during 2012, 53 fireworks related fires were reported, preceeded by 26 in 2011.  State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds encourages parents to remain connected with their kids when using fireworks, “Teach your kids fireworks safety. Use legal fireworks as a family, and when your kids are with their friends use social media or text messaging to remind them to be smart and safe.”

Consider the potentially serious consequences of igniting fireworks. Burn injuries happen very quickly and have life altering effects.  Please view the following YouTube videos for additional information:

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