First responders stress firework and grill safety ahead of Fourth of July weekend

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - With the Fourth of July comes lots of fireworks, but it’s important to know how to safely use them to prevent fires.

Any firework that travels on the ground or through the air is illegal in Virginia.

However, fire marshals inspect all fireworks at firework stands to make sure they are legal to use.

Some safety tips when using legal fireworks are to maintain adult supervision when children are using sparklers, keeping a good distance between fireworks and structures and making sure fireworks are extinguished properly.

“So anything that shoots a shower of sparks is fine,” said Brian Clingenpeel, community outreach programmer for Roanoke County Fire and Rescue. “However, fine and legal does not always mean safe. A sparkler at the tip can burn about 1200 degrees. So, to give you an idea, you bake a cake at 350. That’s four times what you’re baking a cake at.”

Along with fireworks, first responders say grills can be a fire hazard.

“Heat, smoke, even the grease-laden vapors from what you’re cooking, all that stuff rises. So, if you’re under the eaves of the house that could potentially start a fire,” said Clingenpeel.

First responders recommend grills be kept outside and at least ten feet from the house. Grilling inside or in a garage could not only cause a fire, but also carbon monoxide poisoning.

First responders say the safest thing to do is attend a professional firework show instead of lighting your own.

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