Celebrate safely: RI fire marshal demonstrates the power of fireworks

EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) – An estimated 30 to 40 Rhode Islanders will suffer fireworks-related injuries this Fourth of July weekend, according to State Fire Marshal Jack Chartier.

“Fireworks, even consumer fireworks, can be dangerous, and they are unpredictable,” Chartier said at a fireworks safety demonstration on Tuesday.

More than 11,000 people were treated in emergency departments in 2016 for fireworks injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Injuries treated at Lifespan hospitals from July 1 – July 5, 2016:

  • 2 – Rhode Island Hospital
  • 2 – The Miriam Hospital
  • 2 – Newport Hospital
  • 6 – Hasbro Children’s Hospital

All six of the injuries treated at Hasbro Children’s Hospital were caused by sparklers, according Lifespan spokesperson Christina O’Reilly.

“We boil water at 212 degrees. We light our fireplace at 400 to 450 degrees. We melt glass at 900 degrees. Sparklers burn at about 1,200 degrees,” Chartier explained. “So think about what you’ve just put in that young child’s hand.”

Fireworks safety tips:

  • Obey all state and local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Use fireworks outside, in a clear area, away from buildings, vehicles and trees.
  • Always have a bucket of water and a hose connected to water nearby.
  • Never let young children handle any type of fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Point fireworks away from people, homes, trees and combustible materials.
  • Wear safety glasses when using fireworks. Light one at a time and move away quickly.
  • If a firework doesn’t ignite, don’t try to re-light it. Douse it in water instead.
  • Keep pets indoors when fireworks are being used.

Only certain consumer fireworks are legal in Rhode Island.

“If it goes up in the air or makes a loud bang, those things are illegal in Rhode Island,” Chartier said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also said Tuesday that TNT Red, White and Blue Smoke fireworks are being recalled after three consumers reported burn injuries.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.