Heat and fireworks may be explosive combination

By Bonnie Culverhouse

With the excessive heat leading up to July 4, Minden Fire Chief Brian Williams recommends avoiding certain fireworks and taking precautions.

“With the grass as dry as it is, avoid sparklers,” Williams said. “They can cause a grass fire. And when igniting fireworks always keep a water hose handy.”

The area is currently in an excessive heat advisory, said the chief.

“That means we have heat indexes of up to 115 degrees,” he said. “We expect heat advisories up through the holiday.”

Persons who are outside during the day should stay in the shade, Williams added, and drink plenty of water.

Because of the recent rains, Webster Parish is not in a burn ban, he said.

“But with the heat and humidity, we urge extreme caution with fireworks.”

A new report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) finds a significant upward trend in fireworks-related injuries. Between 2006 and 2021, injuries with fireworks climbed 25 percent in the U.S., according to CPSC estimates. 

Last year, at least nine people died, and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks.

“It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. In addition, he said, “CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations continues to work closely with other federal agencies to prevent the sale of illegal consumer fireworks.” 

Young adults 20 to 24 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries in 2021.

CPSC urges consumers to celebrate safely this holiday by following these safety tips: 

Tips to Celebrate Safely

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.

Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap. 

Light fireworks one at a time, then move quickly away from the fireworks device. 

Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.

Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.

After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.

Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.