If fireworks are part of your planned July 4th celebration, the City of Iowa City Fire Department encourages you to put safety at the top of your list, and leave the pyrotechnics to trained professionals. A community fireworks display will not only provide a better show, it will also be safer for your friends and family, reports Fire Marshal Brian Greer.

According to the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA), each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks, suffering devastating burns and injuries or even death. In 2014, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks-related injuries, with children aged 5-9 identified as the highest injury risk, followed by young people aged 10-19.

Sparklers, snakes, and caps are the only legal fireworks in Iowa, although they, too, pose a danger. Sparklers typically account for more than 25% of emergency room fireworks injuries. Fireworks and sparklers are designed to explode or throw off showers of hot sparks, with temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees. By comparison, glass melts at 900 degrees. If using sparklers, make sure they are used responsibly and only by age-appropriate individuals. Parents and guardians should carefully monitor their use.

In addition to injuries, there are far more fires reported on July 4th than on any other day, with fireworks accounting for more than two out of five of those fires. In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated $32 million in property damage in 15,600 reported fires.

Fire Marshal Greer emphasizes that public fireworks displays are the safest alternative, as they are conducted by professionals in a controlled setting that is subject to safety regulations and monitored by public safety personnel.

Iowa City’s fireworks display is scheduled Sunday, July 3, 2016 as part of the Iowa City Jazz Festival. They will be launched from Hubbard Park near the Iowa Memorial Union beginning sometime between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. Best views are available on the west side of the Pentacrest, although the show will also be visible Downtown.

For more information, contact Fire Marshal Brian Greer at 319-356-5257 or brian-greer@iowa-city-org, or visit www.nfpa.org.

Date of publication

Thursday, June 30, 2016