Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition that can be dangerous, if not deadly, if not properly handled, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
As Arkansans begin to plan for Independence Day, it is important to keep in mind that the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported eight fatalities and an estimated 12,900 injuries related to fireworks in the U.S. in 2017, according to the release.
“Fireworks are a staple at July 4 celebrations across Arkansas,” Rutledge said. “While some families attend community fireworks displays, some decide to put on their own show. I urge extreme caution when lighting fireworks because improper use can lead to fires, serious injury or even death.”
Rutledge released the following tips for consumers planning their own holiday fireworks show:
• Only buy fireworks from a licensed store, tent or stand.
• Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area.
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
• Supervise children at all times and make sure adults light every firework, including sparklers, which can reach 2,000 degrees.
• Make sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
• Never relight a malfunctioning firework. Soak the duds in water and throw them away.
• Do not shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers.•
• Keep a water hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
Arkansas’ “Fireworks Act” restricts the types of fireworks that can be sold in the state and the amount of explosive material that each firework may contain.
Firework vendors are required to have a state license. They may not sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 12 or to anyone who appears to be intoxicated. Municipal ordinances may also restrict or regulate fireworks sales and use.
State law only allows exploding fireworks to be sold each year from June 20 to July 10 and from Dec. 10 to Jan. 5. Non-exploding items, such as sparklers and snakes, may be sold throughout the year.
Also consider securing pets during local fireworks displays as many get scared of the loud noises and may try to find a way to get away and seek shelter.
For details on this issue or tips to avoid scams, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.