Celebrate the Fourth of July Safely: Tips from Cy-Fair Fire Department’s Daniel Anderson

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 7/2/2024, 2:58 p.m.
As families across Houston gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and sparklers, the Cy-Fair Fire Department …

As families across Houston gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and sparklers, the Cy-Fair Fire Department is preparing for a busy night. Fireworks are a beloved tradition, but they also bring a significant risk of fires and injuries. Daniel Anderson of the Cy-Fair Fire Department shares crucial safety tips to ensure your Independence Day celebration is both fun and safe.

The Risks of Fireworks

Fireworks and sparklers contribute to a surge in emergency calls every Fourth of July. “During the Fourth of July, we experience a significant increase in call volume, nearly doubling our average daily calls for service,” says Anderson, Cy-Fair’s district chief of suppression training. Typically, the department responds to about 80 calls per day, but last year on the Fourth, they responded to 140 calls. In 2022, they had 148 calls. These incidents often involve grass fires, structure fires, burns, traumatic injuries, and vehicle accidents.

 Safety Tips for Handling Fireworks

1. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always read and adhere to the guidelines provided by the fireworks manufacturer. Improper handling or disposal of fireworks can lead to serious accidents.

2. Never Hold Lighted Fireworks: Holding fireworks in your hands can cause severe burns and traumatic injuries. Use a flat, stable surface to light them and keep a safe distance.

3. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: Do not use fireworks if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impairment increases the risk of accidents.

4. Have Safety Equipment Nearby: Always have a garden hose or fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it in case of an emergency.

5. Proper Disposal: Ensure fireworks are completely extinguished before disposing of them. Soak used fireworks in water overnight and place the container away from your home.

6. Do Not Relight Duds: If a firework fails to ignite, do not attempt to relight it. Douse it with water and leave it alone to prevent accidental explosions.

7. Supervise Children: Children should never handle fireworks without adult supervision. Even sparklers, which burn at over 2,000 degrees, can cause severe injuries.

 Protecting Pets During Fireworks

Fireworks can cause stress and anxiety in pets. To keep them safe:

- Keep Pets Indoors: Place them in an interior room with multiple walls between them and the outside to buffer the noise.

- Use Distractions: TVs, music, or noise machines can help calm pets.

- Consult Your Vet: For additional tips and options to keep your pets comfortable during fireworks displays.

Reporting Fireworks Violations

Report illegal use of fireworks to the appropriate authorities, but remember that the fire department does not enforce HOA rules. Do not call 911 for HOA violations or to report how late others are discharging fireworks.

“By following these guidelines, we can all have a happier, safer Fourth of July,” says Anderson. Enjoy the festivities with your family and friends, but always prioritize safety to prevent accidents and injuries.

For more info, visit https://www.cyfairfd.org/