By Tim Johnston, Fire Inspector
/ Published June 28, 2011
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Each year people are warned about the hazards of using illegal fireworks, but each year there are just as many fireworks incidents.
Vandenberg, like other cities in our community, does not allow discharging of fireworks at any time. We are in fire season and with Independence Day approaching, there's a chance for more fire threats due to illegal use of fire works.
With so much control on fireworks, how do children obtain them?
The biggest culprit is many children lack proper parental supervision and will obtain fireworks without their parents knowing. It's important to educate your children on the dangers of using fireworks and to emphasize the pain they may cause to themselves, their parents or the community if they use fireworks with out the proper supervision.
Who gets hurt and when
Most fire work injuries involve small children. These are usually burns to the hands and eyes causing vision impairment and disfiguring scars. Sparklers are the biggest danger to children. A tip temperature at the end of a sparkler reaches 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause a burn.
Yes, people can die from fireworks and the fires they cause. In 2009, 26 people were killed this way. That's a large improvement compared to 1902, when fireworks were legal in most states. In that year, fireworks related fires killed more than 200 people.
The Vandenberg Fire Department recommends that you consult the newspaper or local activity calendar and attend one of several approved fire works displays around the county. If you decide to use legal fire works, which can only be used within the City limit of Santa Maria, the Vandenberg Fire Department recommends that you use following safety tips.
Always read the directions - Follow the printed instructions carefully and use common sense.
Have an adult present - Proper supervision can prevent dangerous mishandling.
Use outdoors only - Light fireworks away from buildings and vehicles in an area clear of dry grass and other flammable materials.
Light one at a time - Move away quickly once fuse is lit.
Keep a safe distance - Be sure others are out of range before lighting fireworks.
Never point - or throw fire works at another person.
Never alter - or take fireworks apart.
Have water handy - Keep hose and a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for dousing misfired and spent fireworks.
Never attempt to relight - or fix malfunctioning fireworks.
Parents are liable - for any damage or injuries caused by your children using fireworks.
The Vandenberg Fire Department hopes that all of you have a safe 4th of July and should you need any assistance on issues concerning fireworks please feel free to call us at 606-4680 or 606-5380.