Fireworks Safety | Tips from Kanawha Co. first responders and Nitro Fireworks

Fireworks Safety | Tips from Kanawha Co. first responders and Nitro Fireworks
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:53 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Nitro Fireworks Manager Raelynn McCammick believes safety is at the heart of any good personal fireworks show. She said it starts with the right location.

“You don’t want to be close to any buildings any power lines, any trees, keep a flat surface and nothing that’s flammable around,” McCammick said.

She advised to keep crowds at least 50 feet back from the explosives because fireworks tend to bounce.

“I always recommend having a cinderblock or something on each side. That way, the box doesn’t have that ability to move or flip over, so it doesn’t go somewhere you don’t want it to go.”

Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority does not recommend amateur fireworks shows.

Mike Oakley said if you do plan to shoot off fireworks, it is important to watch who is handling them.

“Don’t allow young children to play with fireworks and don’t allow juveniles to play with fireworks unsupervised,” he said.

Oakley said the use of sparklers can cause first or second-degree burns. At a safety demonstration Thursday, first-responders showed the amount of damage a traditional sparkler could cause to a block of wood. Traditional sparklers can cause sparks to fly in different directions. Oakley said in recent years, safety sparklers have been designed to keep the sparks shooting straight.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2020 more than 15,000 people went to emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries.

Thirty percent of injuries were to hands and fingers, 22% had head and face injuries and 15% of patients had injuries to eyes.

Eighteen people died from their injuries.

Oakley said to follow the directions on the packaging to avoid serious injuries.

“If you’re going to use fireworks make sure you use them within the manufacturer’s recommendations because therefore bad things could happen when it doesn’t work as it should,” he said.

Oakley said not to shoot firearms into the sky either because there is no telling where ammunition will go.

Check with your city’s ordinance to see when it is permitted to light fireworks.

Setting off consumer fireworks is illegal in Huntington city limits.

Fireworks can be set off in Charleston between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 4.

Nitro’s ordinance can be found here.

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