NEWS | June 22, 2021

Fireworks: Leave it to the experts!

By Darrin S. Tannert 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron Assistant Chief for Fire Prevention

Fireworks have been a part of the Fourth of July celebration tradition ever since the country's beginning, with the founding fathers themselves seeing fireworks fit to mark the birth of their nation. 

The message each year is simple: be safe. If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by experts. In addition, keep a close eye on children at events where fireworks are used.

While you are enjoying family time, grilling and fireworks, take the time to remind your kids what this holiday is about. Use this opportunity as a teaching tool; share with them the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner and explain the reason we have fireworks.

Safety should be your main concern, so please be safe if your family tradition includes fireworks.  

Below are 10 fireworks safety tips to use and teach to your kids if you do decide to light off your own fireworks.

  1. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  2. Fireworks packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays – avoid buying.
  3. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially with sparklers.
  4. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  5. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  6. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire and to douse used fireworks before discarding them in the trash.
  7. Never allow young children to play or ignite fireworks.
  8. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  9. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  10. Never place a part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting.

The use of fireworks is not permitted at any Joint Base San Antonio installation in accordance with AFMAN 91-201, dated 28 May 2020. It states: “Active duty Air Force personnel (on- or off-duty) and on-duty Air Force civilian personnel will not take part in the transportation, storage, set up or functioning of commercial fireworks for on-base fireworks displays.”

According to the NFPA, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage. 

In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks-related injuries; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report.

While there are no fireworks events planned at any of the JBSA installations, feel free to attend the many controlled firework events throughout San Antonio. 

For more information about fireworks safety, visit the National Fire Prevention Association, or NFPA, website at http://www.nfpa.org/education. People can also contact the Fire Prevention Offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210- 221-2727, at JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-2921, or at JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-6915.