MT. VERNON —As Independence Day draws near the Mt. Vernon Fire Department is reminding organizations and individuals sponsoring fireworks displays to keep it safe.
According to Mt. Vernon Fire Department Assistant Chief Kevin Sargent, the biggest mistake the general public makes while handling fireworks is not being cautious.
“When it comes to utilizing fireworks people tend to think that fireworks are safe, even sparklers and things all the way up to the multi-shock tubes,” Sargent said.
The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2011, fireworks caused 9,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks alone accounted for 34 percent of those injuries. During the same year, fire departments responded to 17,800 fires caused by fireworks.
“Injuries spike this time of year because people are out celebrating their independence and tend to put things in the hands of children,” Sargent said. “People also may indulge in alcoholic beverages which impairs their senses and that effect their safety.”
Sargent and the MVFD recommend leaving the firework display up to the professionals.
“If you want to enjoy the Independence Day go to a professional display and sit back and enjoy the show, however, not everyone is going to do that and we recognize that,” Sargent said. “We just want everyone who will be shooting off fireworks to remember the dangers and that doing that while drinking can be a deadly combination.”
Residents are reminded that under the Illinois Fireworks Act (425ILCS 35/1), it is illegal to possess, purchase or use consumer fireworks without a consumer display permit obtained from local authorities.
The MVFD offered Consumer Fireworks Training courses for the public in May and June that covered several topics, including the safe handling of fireworks, the law as it pertains to fireworks and site set-ups.
The individuals who attended received a certificate of completion from the MVFD. The course must be taken yearly to receive a valid certificate.