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Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Offices says Celebrate the Fourth of July Safely by Leaving Fireworks to the Pros


Tennessee State Fire MarshalNashville, TN – Celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks is a longstanding tradition in the United States. However, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are seriously injured each year due to improper use. State Fire Marshal and Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak encourages Tennesseans to be fireworks smart this Fourth of July by opting to attend organized fireworks displays.

“We encourage Tennesseans to enjoy fireworks at a public display presented by trained professionals where compliance with state-of-the-art fire codes offers a safer way to celebrate the holiday,” McPeak said.

2014 Lighting up the Cumberland Fireworks show at Cumberland City Tennessee.

2014 Lighting up the Cumberland Fireworks show at Cumberland City Tennessee.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), far more fires are reported on Independence Day than on any other day of the year in the United States. Two out of five of these fires are caused by fireworks. In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries.

Tennessee has experienced its own share of fireworks-related incidents. According to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System (TFIRS), 882 fireworks-related fires were reported from 2009-2013. Those fires caused a total of $1,263,885 in property damage.

Remember that counties and most cities have their own ordinances and restrictions regarding firework use, so it’s important to first check with your local police station or fire department to determine the local laws before setting off fireworks in your area.

A 2007 law prevents children under 16 from purchasing fireworks; and those who are age 16 or 17 must present a photo ID to purchase them.

Additionally, state legislation that passed in 2011 reclassified sky lanterns as special fireworks exclusively for use by individuals with a professional license (certified flame effect operator, certified outdoor display operator or certified proximate pyrotechnic operator).

If consumer fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:

  • Never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at people or animals.
  • Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Sparklers are not toys and cause hundreds of injuries every year. Sparklers burn hot, can reach temperatures as high as 1,200° F, and stay hot long after they’ve burned out. You wouldn’t hand a matchbook or lighter to a child to wave around or play with – so, don’t give a child a sparkler.

About the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.




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