Experts warn about fireworks safety this Fourth of July

Nearly 13,000 were injured in fireworks-related accidents last year


ROANOKE, Va. – People across the country are kicking off Independence Day celebrations this weekend, but before you light the fireworks, safety experts have some important reminders.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, eight people died in fireworks-related accidents and nearly 13,000 were injured last year alone. Most injuries were caused by products often considered safe for kids, like sparklers.

“You have to remember that those burn at 1200 degrees. Glass melts at 900 degrees. So it really makes me nervous when I see people give, especially small children, sparklers, cause that's where we see the biggest amount of injuries is from burns," Roanoke Fire-EMS community risk reduction specialist Tiffany Bradbury said.

If you are using sparklers, Bradbury said to make sure you keep a bucket of water nearby to put them out. That's good advice for anyone using fireworks of any kind. When they're out, you should soak them in water and throw them away. Never try to re-light duds.

"If you are going to use some of the ones that you buy at the store, make sure you're out like in your driveway. Don't have it on your deck or in the grass because then that could start a fire as well," Bradbury said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause an average of almost 18,500 fires every year.

"Grab the kiddos up, go and find a good show to go watch and leave it to the professionals and remember leave the pets at home," Bradbury said.

In Virginia, it is legal to buy sparklers, fountains, pinwheels, and whirligigs. You cannot buy firecrackers, skyrockets, torpedoes, exploding fireworks or ones that travel parallel to the ground. All fireworks at tents you see around town are checked out by fire marshals.