Fireworks are plenty of fun, but they can also be dangerous.

On December 1, 2010, a limited variety of “permissible” consumer fireworks commonly being referred to as “state-approved fireworks,” became legal for sale in Arizona for the first time since the ban prohibiting all consumer fireworks went into effect in the ’40s. 

Arizona’s new law, HB 2246, allows only a limited variety of consumer fireworks, which are basically non-aerial and novelty items—and which specifically exclude such items as bottle rockets, skyrockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, torpedoes, roman candles, firecrackers, aerial shells and mortars. To read the law in detail, please visit the website.

“We are very concerned about the fireworks law in Arizona,” said fire marshal Dennis Stiegleiter.  “Our state’s climate is so dry and we are always at risk for out of control wildfires. Plus, there are routinely injuries associated with the private use of fireworks. We hope the public will be safety conscious about this issue and enjoy professional fireworks displays as opposed to using them at home, especially if children are around.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, amateur fireworks use endangers not only the users, but also bystanders and surrounding property and structures. Pyrotechnic devices ranging from sparklers to aerial rockets cause thousands of fires and serious injuries each year. In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment. Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, scars , disfigurement that can last a lifetime and even death. The thousands of serious injuries each year typically harm the eyes, head or hands, and are mostly reported in states where fireworks are legal. Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, reach temperatures of more than 1,000° F. There are safer alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Public fireworks displays are one of those alternatives. Conducted by trained professionals, these displays are the smartest and safest fireworks alternative for anyone because they are established under controlled settings and regulations. After these displays, or any other time, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over. Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury because they may still be active. Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks rather than picking up smoking or charred fireworks themselves, which is just too risky. To keep the public safe from fireworks-related injuries and deaths, Drexel Heights Fire District urges everyone to treat fireworks, whether legal or illegal for consumers, as suitable only for use by trained professionals. For more information on fireworks safety, please visit the NFPA website.

Governing Board information: Drexel Heights Fire District Board meets on the third Friday of each month at 9 a.m., in the training classroom next to Station # 1, located at 5030 S. Camino Verde. The public is encouraged to attend. All meetings are handicap accessible and with 10 days written notice, arrangements can be made for the hearing impaired. The fire district board is chairperson James Bertrand, clerk Gary Bynum and members Laura Dailey, Charles Mendonca and Charles Zang.

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