Commentary: Fireworks safety tips from Edwards Fire Department

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman George Goslin)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman George Goslin)


Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day, yet the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. On average, two hundred people go the emergency room with firework-related injuries every day in the month around the July 4th holiday.

In California, only the safe and sane type fireworks are legal for use. However, even these fireworks are not legal for use in every city. The general rule is if you can buy the fireworks legally, you can use them in the city where you bought them. If you are planning to buy fireworks in one city and use them in another, you should check with the fire department to make sure they are legal in that city. An example of this is safe and sane fireworks that are legal to buy and use in Palmdale, might be illegal in Lancaster.

Please remember “Safe and Sane” fireworks are still dangerous. Nationwide statistics show that these types of fireworks are responsible for more injuries than any other type. This is believed to be because the title “Safe and Sane” gives many people the idea they cannot hurt you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns and eye injuries. You can help us and your local fire departments prevent firework-related injuries and deaths. How? By following these simple safety tips for off base fireworks use. Remember, fireworks are prohibited on Edwards AFB unless approved by the base commander.

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. These are for professional display shows.

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to melt some metals.

  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

  • Never turn your back on a lit firework device

  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. Fireworks are not authorized on base property except for the authorized professional show.

    If you have any further questions regarding fireworks safety, contact the Edwards AFB Fire Prevention Office at 277-3124. If you have questions concerning fireworks use and safety off base, contact your local fire department or visit http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/ for California laws and regulations concerning fireworks. Have a safe and happy Independence Day from the Edwards Fire Department.

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