With Fourth of July weekend around the corner, many people will head to their local fireworks stand to purchase fireworks.
But thousands of people are injured nationwide each year due to improper and illegal use of fireworks, even in Fairfax County. The National Fire Prevention Association reported that 8,800 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in emergency rooms in 2009. A little more than half of injuries reported were burns, and about a quarter of them were contusions and lacerations. The risk of fireworks-related injuries was highest among youth age 10 to 14-years-old. Many of these injuries are serious. Many people have suffered permanent disability due to these injuries.
Most consumer fireworks are not available for sale in Northern Virginia because they are illegal. According to the NFPA, fireworks caused about 18,000 reported fires in 2009, which resulted in about 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in property damage.
The use and sale of certain fireworks is permitted in Fairfax County, but the County Fire Marshal regulates what can be sold or used. The sale of approved fireworks is permitted only by vendors who have an approved Fire Prevention Code Permit from the County Fire Marshal. Fairfax County has compiled an extensive list of permissible items ranging from the “Flash Ray Gun” to “Missile War.” Check out the full list of permissible items here.Other local jurisdictions have banned fireworks, including the City of Alexandria and the City of Falls Church. Do you think that Fairfax County should follow suit? Weigh in on this issue in the comments section below.