Area fire officials are urging residents to be safe when it comes to fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday.
State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is suggesting that Marylanders attend public fireworks displays. Check the Maryland State Fire Marshal website for a list of public displays.
The Annapolis Fire Department reported that in 2011, Marylanders accumulated about $1.5 million of property damage from improper firework usage. Across the nation, nearly 9,000 injuries and 17,800 fires occurred in 2011, according to officials.
In Maryland, purchasing fireworks outside of the state and bringing them in for personal use is punishable by law. According to authorities, if people are caught using illegal fireworks, fines will be issued at a maximum of $250 per firework. Also, explosive fireworks, like M-100 Salutes, are potentially a felony with a charge of $250,000 and a maximum of 25 years in prison.
However, the Annapolis Fire Department said said that for those individuals who insist on the use of consumer fireworks, take the proper precautions:
- If you do purchase fireworks this season, always purchase from a reliable source and place them in your trunk while transporting.
- Place fireworks in a spark-proof container such as a cardboard box. (Never carry fireworks on your body.)
- Never smoke or use any flame devices near fireworks.
- Never attempt to light a firework's fuse indoors or in a vehicle.
- Never attempt to light or handle fireworks after consuming alcohol.
- Have one designated person (wearing safety glasses) to organize and ignite the fireworks safely.
- Use fireworks as directed on the consumer product safety label.
- Always have water ready to place the expired fire work in to soak for at least 20 minutes, after it is used.
- Never attempt to relight a fire work "dud", or one which fails to ignite on the initial attempt.