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HomeNewsTennessee Fire Marshal says Let the Pros Handle Fireworks this Year

Tennessee Fire Marshal says Let the Pros Handle Fireworks this Year

Tennessee State Fire MarshalNashville, TN – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office issues a simple, yet significant message for Tennesseans this Fourth of July: Let the pros handle the fireworks.

With numerous professional displays scheduled for the Fourth including one of the nation’s largest in Nashville, there’s no shortage of festive and colorful fireworks to enjoy in Tennessee. State fire officials urge Tennesseans to take part in these professionally run events instead of risking their lives and possibly breaking the law by detonating fireworks themselves.

Fireworks
Fireworks

“The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends,” said State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “We encourage Tennesseans to enjoy the holiday at a public display presented by trained professionals, where compliance with state-of-the-art fire codes offers a safer way to celebrate our nation’s independence.”

Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In addition to injuries, fireworks can devastate homes and property. From 2011- 2015, Tennessee fire departments responded to 644 fires that were caused by fireworks which resulted in $1.6 million in property damage according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System.

Shooting fireworks at home requires that consumers learn their local fireworks laws. Tennessee’s counties and most of its cities have ordinances and restrictions regarding fireworks usage. Before detonating any firework, the State Fire Marshal’s Office urges residents to check with local police and fire department to determine the local laws about fireworks.

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

State legislation 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). The general public cannot purchase or use sky lanterns. If a sky lantern is found in the possession of someone who does not have a professional license issued by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the device can be confiscated and later destroyed.

A new law passed last year prohibits flying a drone (unmanned aircraft) above an outdoor ticketed event with more than 100 people, or in the vicinity of a fireworks display site, without the permission of the event 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.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • 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 or play with – so, don’t give a child a sparkler.
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