Ensuring a Safe Fourth of July: Firework Safety Tips from the Harris County Fire Marshal

Ensuring a Safe Fourth of July: Firework Safety Tips from the Harris County Fire Marshal

June 27 2024

As the 4th of July approaches, communities across Harris County prepare for the thrilling spectacle of fireworks, an age-old tradition synonymous with Independence Day. However, with this exciting celebration comes the need for enhanced safety measures. The Harris County Fire Marshal implores residents to prioritize safety while enjoying the festivities.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before planning to pop fireworks in your neighborhood, residents are advised to confirm if their HOA allows such activities as some neighborhoods explicitly prohibit the use of fireworks.

Fireworks, although seemingly harmless, pose tremendous risks when mishandled. They are not to be recycled or composted. They shouldn’t be ignited or discharged from a motor vehicle, or placed within or thrown at a motor vehicle, and they should not be used in locations where flammable liquids or compressed gases are stored and dispensed.

Did You Know?
  • Nationally, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, causing five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage, including:
    • 1,900 structure fires
    • 500 vehicle fires
    • 17,100 outside and other fires
  • In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries
    • Half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head.
    • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries.
Source: NFPA Research Division 

When handling fireworks, the Fire Marshal recommends adhering to the manufacturer's instructions. Directions and warning labels on the packaging should guide proper usage. Additionally, intoxicated individuals should steer clear of fireworks, and children should never be allowed to play with or ignite them.

Safety measures extend to pets as well, which should be kept from sniffing or ingesting fireworks as they contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals that can lead to severe illness, burns, or even death.

A bucket of water or a garden hose should be kept handy for soaking used fireworks and duds for at least 15 minutes before disposing of them in a plastic bag to prevent them from drying out. Placing the bag of soaked fireworks in a trash bin and moving the bin away from combustible materials further reduces the risk of accidental ignition.

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Fire safety measures also involve clearing roof surfaces and gutters of flammable materials like leaves and other debris, and storing gasoline in approved containers away from residences.

In the event of a fire, residents should call 911 immediately and gather family members at an agreed-upon meeting place.

For a printable checklist of safety measures and reminders from the Harris County Fire Marshal, click here.

Keeping Pets Safe and Happy on July 4th
In anticipation of potential dangers on Independence Day, the Houston SPCA has shared valuable tips and insights to help keep your pets safe and happy on July 4th.
Click here for details!

While fireworks can be a source of great joy and community bonding, it is crucial to prioritize safety. The Harris County Fire Marshal suggests attending public displays managed by professionals as a safer alternative to home displays. Either way, adhering to safety guidelines and obeying the law should always be prioritized during this festive season.

By Tiffany Krenek, My Neighborhood News 
Tiffany Krenek, authorTiffany Krenek has been on the My Neighborhood News team since August 2021. She is passionate about curating and sharing content that enriches the lives of our readers in a personal, meaningful way. A loving mother and wife, Tiffany and her family live in the West Houston/Cypress region.

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