According to the Office of the Washington State Fire Marshal, more than 350 fireworks-related injuries or fires were reported in 2012, with most occurring around the Fourth of July. Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to exercise caution this week while celebrating Independence Day.
“The Fourth of July means family, friends and fireworks,” says Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “But beware of dealers that may be selling illegal or counterfeit fireworks; one bad purchase could lead to serious injuries.”
BBB and the Office of the Washington State Fire Marshal offer the following advice for a successful, sizzling Fourth of July:
- Know the laws. Cities typically have different fireworks ordinances; check the fireworks safety website for a complete breakdown of local laws and regulations.
- Avoid illegal fireworks. Licensed retailers are only allowed to sell legal fireworks. Check with local police or fire departments to determine which fireworks are permitted and visit the Fireworks Ban or Restricted Sales/Use list for statewide sales and discharge periods.
- Exercise safety. Never place any body parts directly over fireworks when lighting and ensure that proper adult supervision is available when children are involved.
- Be prepared. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a mishap; read instructions and warning labels carefully before igniting.
- Don’t pollute. When festivities are over, clean up the area; pour water over extinguished fireworks to prevent fire and dispose of litter properly.