Celebrate 4th of July with a bang, but safely

Published 8:00 am Monday, July 4, 2022

Independence Day is almost here and that means red, white and blue, BBQ and fireworks, fireworks, fireworks. 

Fireworks may be legal in Mississippi but the pyrotechnics are prohibited from being sold, displayed or used within Oxford city limits.

Oxford Fire Department Inspector Josh Ferguson advises people wishing to celebrate with a bang to do so outside the city and safely.

“Young children shouldn’t handle fireworks and older children must use them under adult supervision,” Ferguson said. “Don’t shoot fireworks if you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol stuff. Always have protective eyewear and, for people who are lighting fireworks, don’t light them in your hand and keep them away from anything flammable like gases or propane tank.”

OFD did not respond to any firework-related fires or injuries last year but the department has seen its share of injuries from ridiculous fire-work related situations.

“This one is comical but doesn’t light [fireworks] indoors,” he said. “We had a lot of that happen. Don’t light them indoors and don’t throw them at people. It’s just happened in years past and a lot of time it’s you know kids or college kids lighting fireworks or bottle rockets in the house. Never have had a fire from the fireworks inside the house but we’ve had people get injured before.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2021 Fireworks Annual Report, the United States experienced an increase in fireworks-related injuries. Between 2006 and 2021, injuries by fireworks climbed 25% in the U.S.

Last year, at least nine people died, and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks and about 32% of emergency room treated for firework-related injuries were for burns.

In case of emergencies, it is essential to have ways to extinguish a firework or a fire.

“Always have some type of bucket of water or some water source nearby in case something happens,” Ferguson said. “If there’s a fire or if a firework doesn’t go off you know, pour water on it and when you’re done with fireworks, be sure and pour water on them so that you know you know they’re out and they’re not going to light anything else on fire.” 

If you do not have an available water source, Ferguson encourages the public to invest in fire extinguishers.

“They’re relatively inexpensive,” said Ferguson. “You can get a good fire extinguisher for about $35.”

You won’t be able to shoot off a bottle rocket inside or outside in Oxford but sparklers are OK for residents to use.

However, Ferguson warns parents to be mindful of their children when they play with sparklers.

The hand-held fireworks can be bought in Walmart or at any firework store and are typically given to children. Though they are whimsical and fun, sparklers can burn as hot as 2000°F, depending on the fuel and oxidizer used, which is enough to cause severe skin burns or ignite clothing. 

“That’s why I always tell people with young kids, because my kids like the sparklers, to just always be up there with them and make sure that they’re handling them right,” said Ferguson. 

To extinguish sparklers, dip them in sand or have a bucket of water to dip the ends into.

In case of a burn injury, immediately and safely remove the person or yourself away from the heat source to stop the burning. Cool the burn down with only cool water for 20 minutes— ice or ice water might only increase the damage to the area. Avoid placing greasy or creamy substances on the burn and do not pop the blisters on the burns. Cover with a dry, nonstick, sterile bandage. 

If the burn occurs around the eyes, nose, ears, toes, and fingers, regardless of size, seek a physician. If you notice the wound becoming infected and experience symptoms such as increased pain, fever and streaking redness, seek a physician.

If you want to save yourself the hassle and worry but still enjoy the glory of fireworks, join the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce for its’ annual 4th of July Firework Show presented by NE SPARC.

The show will begin Monday, July 4 at 9 p.m. Fireworks will be shot from the back of Oxford High School and will be visible from all parking lots at OHS, Sisk Avenue, Oxford Conference Center, Della Davidson and other surrounding areas and businesses.

For the full Independence Day experience, officials encourage spectators to tune to Bullseye 95.5 for a patriotic music melody.