Fayette County

Firefighters, police warn about illegal fireworks, offer safety tips

A crowd gathered on the top floor of a parking structure on Broadway near High street to watch the downtown fireworks presented by Thorntons on July  4, 2014 in Lexington, Ky.  Photo by Mark Mahan
A crowd gathered on the top floor of a parking structure on Broadway near High street to watch the downtown fireworks presented by Thorntons on July 4, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Mahan Herald-Leader

The Lexington fire and police departments are urging people to remember the law as they celebrate the Fourth of July this summer.

The only fireworks allowed to be sold or used in Lexington are sparklers, ground spinners and fountains, according to public safety officials. Fireworks that go up in the air are prohibited, as are “audible ground devices,” such as firecrackers or bottle rockets.

In 2014, the most recent data available, at least 11 fireworks deaths were reported along with about 10,500 injuries treated at hospitals, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The bulk of the injuries were to males. Children younger than 15 accounted for 35 percent of the injuries.

In two high-profile cases of fireworks injuries last year, two NFL players lost parts of their hands. New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul lost two fingers in a fireworks accident, as did now former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson. According to the Safety Commission, 36 percent of all body injuries cased by fireworks are to hands; 19 percent are to heads, faces and ears; and 19 percent are to eyes.

In a news release from the police and fire departments, officials said professional displays are the safest way to enjoy fireworks. If you plan to use fireworks at home, the fire department gives the following tips:

  • Buy fireworks from a licensed retailer.
  • Follow directions on the packaging and do not light multiple fireworks at once.
  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks away from buildings or vehicles.
  • Never relight malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Do not throw fireworks at people and stand at least 6 feet from others using sparklers.
  • Do not handle fireworks while drinking alcohol or under the influence.
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