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By Hayward Fire Department
-- Every year in the United States, the Fourth of July is celebrated with community parades, picnics, barbecues and fireworks but, sadly, Independence Day also includes tragic events resulting from fireworks use. The safest way to enjoy them is to attend public displays organized by professional pyrotechnicians throughout the Bay Area.
All fireworks are banned in Hayward and the Fairview Fire Protection District. Why? Fireworks can be dangerous and severe injuries can arise. An estimated 9,800 people, or a daily average of more than 26 people, were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from fireworks and more than half of the injured were children.
More than two-thirds of fireworks-related injuries occur between June 22 and July 22. During that period more than 40 percent of the injured were children under15 years of age; people under twenty accounted for 54 percent of all fireworks injuries; participants in fireworks–related activities are more frequently and severely injured than bystanders; and most injuries result from being too close to fireworks when they explode.
Despite Federal regulations and varying state and local prohibitions, many types of fireworks are still accessible to the public. Distributors often sell fireworks near state borders where laws prohibiting sales on either side of the border may differ.
Any firecracker with more than 50 milligrams of explosive powder and any aerial firework with more than 130 milligrams of flash powder are banned under federal law, as are mail order kits and components designed to build these fireworks.
However, 92 percent of the fireworks injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use.
Among the various types of fireworks, some of which are sold legally in some states, bottle rockets can injure eyes or start roof fires; sparklers can ignite clothing. Sparklers burn at more than 1,200F which can cause third-degree burns; and firecrackers exploding at close range can injure the hands or face.
Fireworks cause an estimated 30,100 fires, annually, resulting in $34M of property damage. Younger children often lack the physical coordination to handle fireworks safely. There were 1,100 injuries associated with sparklers, many unreported; sparklers cause 200 injuries to children less than 5 years of age. Think about your pet; animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July; keep pets indoors to prevent them running loose or sustaining injury.
The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries and to protect your family is to attend fireworks displays and leave everything to trained professionals. Do not allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
Remember, ALL fireworks are prohibited (including “Safe and Sane” fireworks) within Hayward and the Fairview Fire Protection District. If you see someone playing with fireworks, even if they are the “Safe and Sane” variety, contact Hayward Police Department at (510) 293-7000. If a fire develops, call 911 immediately.
For more information on Disaster Preparedness-related materials, visit www.hayward-ca.gov and click on the red “Disaster Preparedness” button or contact the Hayward Fire Department Emergency Services Office at (510) 583-4948.