IACP Issues Safety Tips for Fourth of July

Alexandria, Virginia—The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) today urged the public to use caution during the July 4th holiday and issued safety tips for the use of fireworks.

"Each year, approximately 10,000 people in the United States are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks," said IACP President Bruce Glasscock, Chief of Police of the Plano, Texas, Police Department. "More than 50 percent of fireworks-related injuries are burns to the hands, arms, eyes and face, and many of these victims are children," added Glasscock.

The IACP's Arson and Explosives Committee, which provides assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement and the fire service community in combating illegal fireworks activities, notes that Class C common fireworks are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They are legal only when permitted by state and local laws.

Illegal explosive devices, with street names such as M-80, M-100, M-1000, Ashcan, Cherry Bomb, Silver Salute, Quarterstick and Quarterpounder meet no safety standards and are often coated with a dangerous explosive dust. Such devices, which traffickers tout as fireworks, are actually small, illegal, unstable bombs that can explode in the hands of unwary buyers, and often maim, blind and kill, according to Committee Chair James L. Brown.

In addition, the IACP advises the public to always buy fireworks from vendors who operate openly and welcome visits by local police and fire departments. Do not buy fireworks from unregulated vendors who are operating in a clandestine fashion.

"Too often, such vendors sell deadly, illegal explosive devices that may explode prematurely in your hand or pocket," said Glasscock.

Here are additional IACP fireworks safety tips:

  • Fireworks ordinances and laws vary throughout the United States. Check with your local police or fire department to determine what type of fireworks, if any, are legal.

  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place not accessible to youngsters, and avoid rough handling.

  • Children and fireworks can be a volatile mix. Responsible adults should supervise all fireworks activities.

  • Only light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from anything that may catch fire, and keep water handy. Light one firework at a time, then move away to a safe distance.

  • Don't relight fireworks that fizzle. Douse with water, soak leftover items and discard while wet.

  • Avoid trouble and tragedy: Never light fireworks in bottles or cans; never cut or take fireworks apart; never add ingredients to fireworks; never make pipe bombs.