As legal consumer fireworks are hitting shelves and pop-up shops in Arizona, the City of Sierra Vista urges area residents to heed state and local limits on their use and celebrate the Fourth of July safely.
In Sierra Vista consumer fireworks can only be used on private property, with the permission of the property owner. Any public areas, to include parks, schools, streets, and public rights-of-way, are off limits. It’s also illegal for anyone under 16 to purchase fireworks and for anyone under 18 to use them unless supervised by an adult.
“While we saw some rain over the weekend, the conditions on the Fourth of July could be dry and consumer fireworks, even the legal ones, pose a significant fire danger,” Sierra Vista Fire Marshal Paul Cimino says. “We recommend residents enjoy the public fireworks display, which begins at the Domingo Paiz Sports Complex at 8:05 p.m.”
Many consumer fireworks are still illegal in Arizona, including anything designed to become airborne and explode. Bottle rockets, sky rockets, roman candles, helicopters, and jumping jacks are common examples of fireworks that remain illegal statewide. Permitted fireworks include cylindrical and cone fountains, ground spinners, illuminating torches, and other types designed to be handheld or to remain on the ground.
“If an emergency response is required due to improper use of fireworks, the person responsible may be liable to pay for it,” Sierra Vista Police Department Public Information Officer Cpl. Tim Wachtel says.
Fire danger is not the only risk. There were an estimated 11,100 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S hospitals in 2016, according to an annual report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 68 percent of those injuries occurred in a one month period between June 18 and July 18. While firecrackers accounted for about 1,300 hospital-treated injuries, sparklers caused about 900, and bottle rockets caused about 400, demonstrating that even the smallest fireworks can cause serious injuries if handled improperly.
“Small, legal fireworks used carelessly are still extremely dangerous, so please be careful. We don’t want to see someone get hurt or start a damaging fire by making a careless mistake on a day when our community comes together to celebrate our nation’s independence,” Cimino says.