Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a known among vacationers as
a hot-spot for fireworks as they are legal in the state. This keeps fire
fighters busy during the Fourth of July holiday.
Adam Oleszkowicz, president of Myrtle Beach Professional Fire
Fighters Local 2345, says that when people visit, the dangers of fireworks are
ignored or overlooked, posing a threat fire fighters and the public.
Seth Holzopfel, member of Myrtle Beach Fire Officers Local 4614
says that although fireworks are illegal to sell and ignite within city limits,
the fireworks are nonetheless easily available used in the Myrtle Beach area.
“It’s impossible to completely police the use of fireworks,”
Holzopfel says, but notes that his members are working to reduce injuries and property
damage caused by the misuse of fireworks this summer.
According to the National Fire Protection Association,
fireworks accounted for about 15,600 fires in 2013 in the United States and for
10,500 emergency room visits in 2014.
Summer does not have to be firework-free. Professional fire
fighters are working to educate communities on the risks associated with
fireworks, how to safely use fireworks and, above all, be a resource for the
To help locals promote safety in their communities, the IAFF
has developed a fireworks safety community outreach campaign toolkit with
infographics, PSAs and other educational information that affiliates are sharing on social media and through other channels.
Safety is a concern any time fireworks are used. In Smyrna, Georgia,
Local 5030 President Paul Burn says the town celebrates its birthday in August with
a huge fireworks display.”
On July 4, because there is no professional show on July 4,
using fireworks can turn dangerous if used improperly.
Fireworks recently became legal in Smyrna, and Local 5030 is concerned
about keeping the community safe during the summer months, but Burn notes that
the IAFF fireworks safety campaign has made it easy to promote safety tips for
In Canada, Canada Day is the number-0ne occasion for fireworks.
In Calgary, where fireworks are illegal and heavily regulated, incidents
involving fireworks are rare.
Calgary Local 225 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Osborne says his
members have responded to just four fireworks calls so far in 2016 – and only three
Still, Local 255 is taking the steps to share information on
fireworks safety in the community, including materials available from the IAFF.
“We want educate to promote fireworks safety and reduce
fireworks injuries,” Osborne says.
IAFF members stress extreme caution when handling fireworks,
especially in arid and dry environments. This is the case for Orange County, CA
Local 3631, where brush easily catches fire.
“Conditions are prime for an accidental fireworks-caused fire
to lead to a huge fire,” says Local 3631 President Ray Greagan.
Although almost all cities allow some fireworks, any explosive
fireworks are illegal. Greagan also warns of the dangers that even amateur fireworks
“Any fireworks still give off heat, which means that there is
a potential for injuries, burns and fire,” he says.
Members in Orange County are helping keep their community safe,
and have been featured
on local news channels, confiscating illegal fireworks and
educating the public on fireworks safety.