Pennsylvanians Urged to Celebrate Safely on the Fourth

As millions of Pennsylvanians prepare to celebrate Independence Day, the Wolf Administration is urging residents to take the necessary steps to protect both loved ones and property.

“Fireworks aren’t toys,” said State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego. “Pennsylvanians deserve memorable and safe holiday gatherings now more than ever.  We want people to be aware of the simple steps they can take to ensure a fireworks display doesn’t end with a call to the fire department or trip to an emergency room.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in 2018, there were five nonprofessional fireworks-related deaths and an estimated 9,100 patients were treated for fireworks injuries in hospital emergency rooms, nationwide. Approximately half of the injuries reported were burns, with the head, eyes, face, or ears, being the most frequently impacted part of the body. Thirty-six percent of those injuries involved children under the age of 15.

Trego gave the following suggestions:

  • Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures of at least 1200 degrees.
  • Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire.
  • Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires.
  • Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol, or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency.
  • Whether attending a professional display, or using consumer fireworks, always remain at a safe distance from the ignition location.

In addition to the health risk fireworks pose, Pennsylvanians still need to be aware of the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to continue to practice social distancing and other preventative measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as the commonwealth works towards reopening.

“Although we have more than half of the state now in the green phase of reopening, it is essential that we remain cautious and continue to take necessary precautions to protect against COVID-19, even while celebrating a holiday,” Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We all have a responsibility to help protect ourselves, our loved ones and others.”