The Annual Independence Day Concert and Fireworks Display is a great time to usher in the summer season and to greet your neighbors. It’s a fun occasion to enjoy the music, perhaps share a meal and to watch an awesome fireworks show. The Fire Marshal’s Office would like to remind everyone that grills and individual fireworks, including sparklers, are not permitted at the event. The best place to enjoy fireworks is at a public display conducted legally and safely by trained professionals.
The use of fireworks, both legal and illegal, is on the rise. When used legally and safely by professionals, fireworks can be enjoyed. Unfortunately, numerous incidents of injuries, fatalities or accidental fires caused by the private use of fireworks are reported each year across the United States. Fireworks are a danger to property, as well as to people. If a fire or explosion caused by legal or illegal fireworks causes injuries and/or damage, or poses a risk of either, the person responsible may be charged with a felony criminal offense. As we are aware by the presence of fireworks vendors, it is legal in the State of Connecticut for any person sixteen (16) years of age or older to possess, sell, or use sparklers and fountains. Use of any type of sparkling device by a person under the age of 16 is illegal. Sparklers and fountains are defined by the Office of the State Fire Marshal as non-explosive, non-aerial devices that contain less than 100 grams of pyrotechnic mixture. NO OTHER TYPES OF FIREWORKS ARE LEGAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC ACT 00-198. While the use of sparkling devices is legal in Connecticut, they can be dangerous if not used properly. The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office asks that you remember the following safety guidelines. When handling a sparkling device, wear protective goggles and gloves. Sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit once they are lit and many burns and eye injuries have been reported as a result of improper use. Do not use fireworks at public events where large groups are gathered. DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO HANDLE ANY TYPE OF SPARKLER. Always have a source of extinguishment nearby. A garden hose or fire extinguisher can quickly put out a small fire before it gets out of control, only if it is close by. Do not use any open flame devices when dry ground conditions are present. The Fire Danger Level is available on our website. Be aware of your surroundings. Before igniting, be sure others are a safe distance from the area. Anytime there is a fire or other emergency, do not hesitate to call 911. A delay in a call can make a tragic difference in the outcome.
As barbeque season is here, grill masters are eager to usher in the long-awaited cooking season. The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges grillers to be particularly mindful of cooking safety in the summer months, when grilling fires most often occur. According to NFPA’s latest “Home Grill Fires” report, three out of five households own a gas grill, which means an increased risk of home fires. From 2009 – 2013, an annual average of 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis or barbecues, and almost half of all grilling injuries involved thermal burns. Although many (nearly half) of grillers do so year-round, grilling fires peak in July, followed by May, June and August. While gas grills cause more home fires than charcoal grills, NFPA reminds everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. According to the report, over one-quarter (27 percent) of home grill fires started on an exterior balcony or open porch, another 27 percent started in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and eight percent began in the kitchen. Before using the grill for the first time each season, make sure it is working properly and review safety tips. The leading causes of home grilling fires are the failure to properly clean the grill or having a flammable object too close to it. It is also important to check for damage on a regular basis. NFPA suggests the following tips for safe grilling: Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors. The grill should be placed away from the home or deck, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Never leave the grill unattended. Children and pets should be at least three feet away from the grill area. Keep the grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays below. When finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.
By following guidelines for fireworks and grill safety, the chance of an injury or fire can be reduced. For any questions or concerns about fire safety, please contact The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office at 891-4711, from Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, or visit the website at www.orangefiremarshal.com.