Keep safety first on Fourth of July

Barbecues, beaches and fireworks are just a few ingredients that some people will need as they celebrate Independence Day on Thursday.

While many college students will be traveling to celebrate the Fourth of July, Tallahassee Fire Department officials promote safety and encourage residents to use authorized fireworks.

“Make sure you use legal fireworks that can be bought locally,” Battalion Chief of Prevention Eugene Sanders said.  

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 17,800 reported fires in 2011 caused by fireworks. Some college students who will be using fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July have noticed how important safety is and will use precautions of their own.

“I am going to wear gloves to protect my hands from burning while lighting them and wear a mask to take caution for my face so it won’t be blown off by accident,” said Martez Hurt, a fourth-year criminal justice student from Washington, D.C.

Instead of buying fireworks, the National Safety Council advises people to enjoy the Fourth of July by watching a public fireworks show that is conducted by professionals. Many college students agree and have plans of watching others instead of lighting fireworks themselves.

“I don’t plan on using any, but I will watch other people use them,” said Keonia Abrams, a fourth-year cardiopulmonary science student from Fort Lauderdale. “I enjoy the shows and plan on keeping my distance from the people using them on the street.”

According to the NFPA’s website, “On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day.”

Here are a few fireworks safety tips to from the National Safety Council’s website:

    • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.

• Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.

• Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and
  flammable materials.

• Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.

• Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.

• Never ignite devices in a container.

    • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and
      soak them with water and discard them safely.

• Keep a bucket