Attorney General Morrisey gives safety tips for Independence Day weekend

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey encouraged consumers to make safe, sensible decisions as they celebrate with fireworks during the Independence Day weekend.

Sparklers, ground spinners and aerial fireworks are favorites for many Fourth of July celebrations. This has been especially true since an expansion in state law allowed retailers to sell a larger variety of fireworks beyond sparklers and ground-based entertainment.

“Marking our nation’s independence is a tradition that brings people together to celebrate America,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It’s important to keep general safety tips in mind when lighting fireworks, as it can be the difference between a great holiday and a potential emergency.”

It is crucial to protect loved ones from accidents and burns commonly associated with fireworks. An estimated 10,000 fireworks-related injuries and 12 deaths occurred nationwide in 2019, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36% of the estimated fireworks-related injuries that same year. An estimated 900 injuries from sparklers and 400 injuries from bottle rockets resulted in treatment in the emergency department in 2019.

Safety tips to remember include:

• Only use fireworks in a clear area.

• Read all instructions before igniting fireworks.

• Supervise children at all times and make sure adults ignite every firework, including sparklers, which can cause severe burns if not handled properly.

• Make sure other people are out of range.

• Never relight a malfunctioning firework.

• Soak used/malfunctioning fireworks in water before throwing them away.

• Keep a water hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.

• Never place any body part directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.

• Move to a safe location immediately after lighting fireworks.

• Never point or throw fireworks at another person or occupied area.

• Never ignite fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Consumers also should only purchase fireworks from a licensed retailer and familiarize themselves with any local ordinance that pertains to the use of fireworks.