FLORISSANT, Mo. - If your Independence Day celebrations can’t go on without the sizzle of backyard fireworks, Battalion Chief Russell Kleffner of the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District has a warning.
“Use them with extreme caution. There’s no such thing as a safe firework,” Kleffner said.
In nearly 20 years on the job, Kleffner has seen fireworks burn homes and people. In the most severe cases, he’s witnessed people lose fingers and hands. If you think sparklers are a safer alternative, Kleffner says you’re mistaken.
“Actually, they’re the number one leading cause of both fires as well as injury," he said.
In fact, he tells us lit sparklers burn at a minimum of 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, with some burning as hot as 3,000 degrees. He says you should be just as careful trashing them as you are holding them.
“Put them into a metal type container either filled with water or sand to minimize the spread of fire. Leave them after they’ve been discharged to sit on the ground for a while to prevent injuries," he said.
Depending on where you live, shooting off your own fireworks is illegal. But should an accident occur, don’t let the potential punishment prevent you from calling for help.
“If anything gets out of hand, without a doubt, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1,” Kleffner said.