Harrisonburg Fire Department reminds residents of fireworks laws

harrisonburgAs the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the Harrisonburg Fire Department is reminding city residents about rules surrounding fireworks and sparklers within the city limits.

All fireworks and sparklers are illegal in the City of Harrisonburg. This includes the possession, sale and use of such items. Instead of purchasing and using such items, HFD invites all residents, as well as others visiting the city, to watch the professional fireworks show on the Fourth of July as part of the Friendly City Fourth. More information on the show can be found at www.downtownharrisonburg.org.

“It is imperative to us that residents strictly follow this ordinance, not only for their safety, but also for the safety of those around you,” Harrisonburg Fire Chief Ian Bennett said. “Fireworks that are mishandled or malfunction can lead to very serious injuries. We want people to enjoy themselves by taking advantage of the locations to view fireworks safely.”

Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires cause an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were nearly 13,000 firework related injuries in 2017, in addition to eight deaths. Of those, 28 percent were caused by sparklers. Sparklers can burn between 1,200 and 2,000 degrees. Most firework related injuries occur around the Fourth of July. “Fireworks require far more open space to operate safely than can be found within the city limits,” HFD Deputy Fire Marshal Captain Mike Armstrong explained. “With the high risk of injury, it is best to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Enforcing the laws prohibiting fireworks is designed to ensure public safety.”

More information on firework safety can be found at www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-EducationCenters/Fireworks.


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