DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is planning to dispatch “Go Teams” onto the streets to educate people about firework safety during the weekend of Independence Day.
Bowser warned District residents against the dangers of fireworks during a press conference on Wednesday.
The safety teams will be working with the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, as well as other agencies, which will help them with identifying locations where there are concerns about the use of fireworks.
“We want to remind everyone that fireworks are indeed dangerous,” said Bowser with respect to personal fireworks. “That is true for illegal fireworks but also true for legal fireworks if they’re not used correctly, or if they’re used by children or other people who shouldn’t be handling them.”
“It is unlikely, and let me just be perfectly candid, that the police can chase down every cherry bomb that pops in the District of Columbia,” she added.
Bowser and DC Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean gave examples of previous accidents involving fireworks where multiple children were injured with burns and a person had to have their fingers amputated. Four incidents caused by illegal fireworks happened this year and a 11-year-old child suffered burns in one of them, according to the mayor.
A total of 17 DC neighborhoods have safety teams assigned to them to provide firework safety.
DC residents can request a safety team for a certain neighborhood by reaching out to the Fire Marshall Office at 202-727-1614.
Among the illegal fireworks listed by the DC Fire and EMS are any fireworks that move or shoot projectiles, any fireworks that explode and any fireworks that emit sparks or flames that are larger than 12-feet.
Sparkles less than 20 inches, torches, box fires, fountains, dipsticks, paper novelty items, colored light and paper caps are considered legal.
A full list of approved legal fireworks can be viewed on fems.dc.gov or you can contact Fire Marshals office at 202-727-1614 to ask for details.
According to the DC Fire and EMS, you should follow the guidelines below to safely use legal fireworks:
- Remember to ensure everyone is practicing social distancing.
- Never allow children to light or play with fireworks.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions before use.
- Be sure other people and structures are clear (50 feet) before lighting fireworks.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from flammable materials.
- Use longer lighting devices (A Grill lighters is a good choice)
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Keep a bucket of water in case of a malfunction or fire.
Bowser recently called on DC residents to observe the Fourth of July at home in order to avoid the risk of coronavirus exposure.
The mayor said that people should keep in mind that the coronavirus pandemic has not disappeared yet, as the city is moving through its Phase Two reopening.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are still planning to host a “Salute to America” event on the South Lawn of the White House and the Ellipse on July 4 despite concerns raised by officials regarding the COVID-19 disease.