Kalamazoo, MI: Often, when thinking of the Fourth of July, one of the first things that come to mind are big, beautiful fireworks, with vibrant colors that light up a summer night’s sky. In the midst of all this holiday grandeur, it is important to understand fireworks safety and how to prevent tragedy during your July 4th celebration.
In 2013, 65 percent or 7,400, of all firework injuries occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4th. The majority of these injuries occurred simply because of the malfunction or improper use of legal and illegal fireworks.
Here are some ways fireworks can malfunction:
• Inconsistent flight paths
• Tip-over incidents
• Early or late ignitions
• Debris and blowouts
You, your friends, and family can be put at risk by:
• Purchasing and using illegal fireworks;
• Letting children use fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers;
• Creating or modifying any fireworks;
• Igniting fireworks too close to someone or something; and
• Setting off fireworks improperly.
Small fireworks, like bottle rockets, sparklers, and small firecrackers can appear harmless to children, but during the 30 days surrounding July 4, these kinds of fireworks injured an estimated 1,000 children under the age of 5.
If you do decide to buy fireworks, be sure to take the following safety steps:
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging; often, this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
• Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
• Move away to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not gone off or fully functioned.
• 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 one item at a time, then move away quickly.
• After fireworks have gone off and fully functioned, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding, to prevent a trash fire.
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
• Know the risks. Prevent the tragedies. And, have an injury-free Fourth!
A few steps of prevention can eliminate a disastrous injury or fire. Further information can be obtained at www.fireworksafety.com and www.NFPA.org.
For more information from the Fire Marshal’s office, please visit: www.kalamazoopublicsafety.org/inside-kdps/divisions/81-fire-marshal
City of Kalamazoo Code of Ordinances
Fireworks devices that are designed to produce visible effects by combustion, that are required to comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission under 16 CFR Parts 1500 and 1507, and that are listed in APA Standard 87-1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, or 3.5. "Consumer fireworks" does not include low-impact fireworks.
Ground and handheld sparkling devices, as that phrase is defined under APA Standard 87-1, 3.1., 188.8.131.52.1 to 184.108.40.206.8, and 3.5.
An individual who is less than 18 years of age.
§ 15-30. Consumer fireworks prohibitions.
A. A person shall not ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks except during permitted hours on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday.
B. No person shall ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks between the hours of 12 midnight and 8:00 a.m. of the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday, except that on New Year's Day no person shall ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
C. No person shall ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks on public property, school property, church property or the property of another person without that organization's or person's express permission to use consumer fireworks on those premises.
D. Consumer fireworks shall not be sold to a minor.
§ 15-31. General noise prohibition. The ignition, discharge or use of consumer fireworks shall be subject to the general prohibition contained at § 21-6 of the Kalamazoo City Code, which addresses continued excessive or unusually loud noise, measured or unmeasured, which disrupts, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of any person within the limits of the City.
§ 15-32. Penalties. A person who violates this article is responsible for a municipal civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $500.
By authority of: Assistant Chief Ryan Tibbets
Date: July 2, 2014
Address: 150 E. Crosstown Pkwy. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Contact: Fire Marshal James Williams, 337-8123