Fourth of July busy time of the year for area fire departments

Posted at 10:34 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 11:44:42-04

Pretty much everyone knows fireworks are illegal inside the city limits.

But lots of people just can't help themselves on Independence Day.

Across the nation July fourth is not only the busiest day of the year for fireworks, but it's also the busiest day of the year for the Nueces County Emergency Service District #2 in Flour Bluff.

“Every Fourth of July, we bring in quite a few extra personnel to man additional vehicles so we can actually stage them out at the Island. Every year we end up having a large grass fire out there that we wind-up having to battle,” said Flour Bluff ESD #2 Captain Christopher Burkhardt.

More fires are reported on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Captain Burkhardt says in the past three years on the Fourth of July, the Flour Bluff Fire Department has battled 25 grass fires.

“Fireworks are illegal. There are very few parts around here that you can actually fire off fireworks, definitely not in the city limits. If you go down to the beach that is part of the city, that is the National Sea Shore, and it is illegal to fire fireworks down there and more than likely you will cause a grass fire in the dunes,” said Burkhardt.

Once one starts, they grow extremely fast, and you certainly don't want to be the person who burns your neighbor's house down because you were out shooting off fireworks.

“Fireworks go up and they do come down so if you have a bottle rocket, and it goes up and next thing it lands on someone’s roof that has a bunch of grass or debris on from not being cleaned, next thing you know their roof could be going up. You can be starting a house fire,” said Burkhardt.

Despite the obvious reasons to not partake in any backyard activities, there is a danger that goes with handling fireworks.

“Every year we wind up having multiple patients come into the ER with firework related injuries," Burkhardt said. "From blown off fingers, severe burns, and facial trauma from one actually being lit off in their face.”

First responders want everybody to be safe, and they want everybody to be responsible on the Fourth of July.

The July Fourth public safety checklist:

• Only buy fireworks from a licensed seller (not from someone on the street or from someone’s house).
• Read and follow the directions on the fireworks before lighting them.
• Only use fireworks in an open, outdoor area.
• Light the fireworks on a hard surface and be cautious of any wind.
• Have a designated person to set off the fireworks who avoids alcohol and does not wear loose clothing.
• Make sure that the designated person wears safety goggles and close-toed shoes.
• Do not alter or combine fireworks.
• Aim the firework away from houses, dry leaves, flammable materials and people.
• Never extend a body part over the device.
• Light one firework at a time.
• Never relight a “dud” firework.
• Wait 20 minutes after setting off the firework to approach it and then soak it in water.