4th of July fireworks safety reminder

Fireworks light the night sky during the Independence Day Celebration at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 30, 2016. This was the first year the show used 8-inch shells, versus the usual 6-inch shells, for a bigger display for Whiteman personnel and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danielle Quilla)

Fireworks light the night sky during the Independence Day Celebration at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 30, 2016. This was the first year the show used 8-inch shells, versus the usual 6-inch shells, for a bigger display for Whiteman personnel and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danielle Quilla)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

June is National Safety Month and the Fourth of July is just around the corner, making now a good time to consider fireworks safety.

Fireworks are prohibited on Whiteman Air Force Base. Regulation WAFB 32-2001 states, “The use of any fireworks is unauthorized on this installation without the written authorization from the Base Fire Chief, Weapons Safety Manager and the Mission Support Group Commander.”

It’s not just big boomers that are prohibited on the installation; banned fireworks also include the smaller items like sparklers, snakes and smoke bombs.

If off-base residents plan to shoot fireworks, safeguards should be taken:

• Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer.

• Always wear eye protection as well as earplugs if you have sensitive ears.

• Tie back long hair and don't wear loose fitting clothes.

• Only light one firework at a time.

• Never try to relight fireworks that have malfunctioned.

• Never have any part of your body above lit fireworks.

• Keep young children away from fireworks.

• Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

• Make sure to have water nearby in case of a fire or an accident.

• Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.

• Never light fireworks indoors.

• Don't use fireworks while consuming alcohol; have a "designated shooter." 

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don't save fireworks from season to season.

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 caused three deaths, 40 injuries and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.

In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 51 percent of those injuries were to the extremities and 41 percent were to the head. Children younger than 15 accounted for one-quarter of those estimated injuries.

“Whiteman Fire Emergency Services would like you and your family to be safe and enjoy the Fourth of July celebrations,” said Timothy Robinson, the assistant Chief of Prevention assigned to the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron. “That’s why we recommend fireworks enthusiasts go to a local fireworks show hosted by professionals, such as the 2018 Independence Celebration at Whiteman AFB on July 3.”

For more information on fire prevention, safety or training, contact the Whiteman Fire Prevention Office at 660-687-6080 or 6083. Visit the Whiteman AFB Fire Emergency Services Facebook page for more fire safety tips.