Tips for Virginia fireworks safety

People can protect themselves when using fireworks by knowing the risks and what safe practices are best to follow.

While many people throughout Virginia use legal fireworks to celebrate festive occasions, most notably, Independence Day, it does remain true that the use of fireworks carries with it the risk of injury or starting a fire. While this danger is always present, it is also true that people can greatly reduce the risk of harm to themselves and to each other by observing some basic safety practices.

Why fireworks safety is important

In order to put things into perspective, it is helpful to look at some statistics provided by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs. They state that, in the year of 2015, while only 11 people died, 11,900 firework-related injuries were treated in hospitals throughout the U.S. That same year, the state of Virginia saw 34 fireworks-related safety incidents. In 2016, however, that number jumped to 105. It has been counted that 650 explosions and 778 fires have been caused by fireworks in the Commonwealth in the last 10 years.

Safety when setting up and cleaning up

All fireworks should be soaked thoroughly in water before being thrown away. Even an apparent "dud" could still light off and fire without warning if not soaked in water. When an area is being set up to use fireworks, all flammable objects and materials should be cleared away. Having a hose or a bucket of water nearby is important in case a fire starts. Home-made fireworks are dangerous and should not be attempted-only legal fireworks purchased at approved stands should be used.

Safe practices when using fireworks

In addition to being safe in preparation and disposal, there are also some simple rules that can enhance the fun and enjoyment of everyone involved, such as those in the following list provided by Virginia's Department of Forestry:

· Even several hours after using fireworks, and area should be monitored to make sure nothing is burning, smoking, or lighting off.

· It is important to never use fireworks when under the influence of alcohol.

· The only places that fireworks should be used in are dirt or gravel areas, driveways, or parking lots.

· Shooting fireworks in metal and glass containers also poses a safety risk.

· The instructions on fireworks are there for a reason. They should be heeded at all times.

To find out about local bans or restrictions on fireworks, anybody can contact his or her county/city administration.

If somebody in Virginia has suffered from an injury caused by a firework, it may be possible for him or her to get financial compensation in order to help pay for medical bills and the costs of pain and suffering. A lawyer who practices personal injury law in the local area may be able to assist someone in such a situation.