New Year’s Celebration Safety: Fireworks
By Vice President / Lieutenant Scot Best
December 28, 2023

With holidays behind us, most are now preparing for the next big celebration… New Year’s Day! Celebrating with fireworks has been a longstanding tradition in the United States. However, many people are seriously injured each year by their careless use. Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage. In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36% of the estimated 2018 injuries.

The Ridge VFD encourages you to have a fire-safe New Year by leaving the fireworks to the professionals. To avoid the risk of injury and property damage associated with consumer fireworks join other community members, where possible, in attending a public display put on by trained and licensed professionals. If public displays aren’t available near you, please remember to celebrate safely. If you’ll be setting off fireworks at home, be sure to follow these important safety tips:

• Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, trees, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
• Be sure other people, especially children and pets, are out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks – this includes sparklers.
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
• Wear eye protection.
• Never throw or point fireworks at people or animals.
• Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Keep a bucket of water, a garden hose, or fire extinguisher nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
• If you live in an area that’s experiencing a drought, consider cancelling the show this year – a stray spark that lands on dry grass or leaves can lead to a wildfire.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!