NEW YORK (WWTI) — Thousands of people are injured in each year while using fireworks, mostly children, teens and young adults. The majority of the injuries happen in the month around the 4th of July.
Independence Day is also one of the most dangerous days to be one the road. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, there is often an increase in impaired driving crashes during dates around the holiday. Drunk driving, drug-impaired driving and distracted driving are all issues that contribute to dangers on the road.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection shared the following tips to enjoy a safe holiday:
Know what’s legal for fireworks
The sale of sparkling devices by registered sellers is legal from June 1 until July 5 in much of New York State. They are not legal in New York City and the following counties:
- Albany, Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange (prohibited in the Cities of Middletown and Newburgh only), Queens, Richmond, Schenectady, Suffolk, Warren and Westchester
The list of counties that prohibit the sale and possession of sparkling devices does change, so users should check with their local sheriff’s office to make sure they’re compliant.
Sparkling devices are ground-based or handheld sparking devices that do not launch into the air. They produce a shower of colored sparks or colored flame, crackling or whistling noise and smoke. People must be at least 18 years old to use sparkling devices.
Any other types of fireworks are illegal statewide, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices.
If you choose to use illegal fireworks, do it safely
The NYS Division of Consumer Protection shared tips for using fireworks safely, in case of any instance that someone chooses to use illegal fireworks.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
- Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- If you are impaired by alcohol, do not use fireworks.
Tips for driving safely
Always avoid driving while impaired. Anyone who is driving around the holiday should be cautious of others who may not be sober while operating a vehicle. Anyone who plans to drink should also plan ahead of time to make sure they have a sober ride home.
The Division of Consumer Protection suggest that anyone hosting a party can help designated drivers by ensuring there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages at the gathering.