Vashon enjoyed its third year of injury free fireworks usage last year, however there was a fire on July 4’th. Initially it was thought that a sky lantern had ignited the house, however a long investigation revealed that the cause was a spark from yard work activities.
Even if you don’t use fireworks, it is a really good idea to prepare for fireworks season and reduce the chance of fire danger for yourself and your neighbors. Fire prevention starts with mowing down any tall grass. Before fireworks are discharged it is also a great idea to water the grass too. If you don’t want to be standing in mud, watering even a couple of hours before the show starts is extremely helpful.
If you are going to be using fireworks this year, choose legal fireworks from a state licensed stand. Statically, illegal products cause almost all of the serious fireworks related injuries and fires in our state. The two major categories of fireworks that are illegal in Washington State are bottle rockets and firecrackers.
The hazards of firecrackers are pretty obvious, the main one being bodily injury and hearing loss. It’s also pretty easy to damage property with the devices. Bottle rockets are a little more subtle; they look innocuous with the small size, but tend to fly in an erratic fashion. They will often go somewhere they shouldn’t and can light things on fire. Keep in mind that transporting illegal fireworks to the island via the ferry is a serious state offense.
If you choose to use fireworks always keep a charged hose and a bucket of water nearby. Avoid dry areas and places where product could end up in trees. Talk to your fireworks dealer to find out how high and wide your fireworks will go so you can be prepared.
If you use a sky lantern keep in mind that they go sideways even in a gentle breeze. Sky lanterns should only be used at high altitudes, and in a wide open space away from trees. Do not use a sky lantern if it is windy.
Be considerate: light only during the legal hours of discharge on July 4’th. It’s always a good idea to talk to your neighbors about what you are planning so they can be prepared. If your neighbors or their animals are sensitive to noise, please consider quiet fireworks or an alternate discharge location.
To help people celebrate safely this year, Vashon Island Fire and Rescue and The Vashon Fireworks Company will be holding a fireworks safety class in Sound Food at 10:00am on July 4’th. The class is short, informative and is open to all audiences.
Be safe, and have a happy, beautiful 4th of July!