It is crucial that residents and visitors of Georgetown County know the proper safety measures to take to enjoy a fun and safe Fourth of July. Over 10,000 fireworks-related injuries were reported in 2022, firecrackers and sparklers being the top two contributors.
“You can easily loose a couple of fingers if a firecracker happens to go off in your hand,” said Bill Collins, fire marshal at Midway Fire and Rescue. “It’s important to know that fireworks can be unpredictable, and accidents can happen.”
Even the fireworks many people consider “safe” enough for kids can be extremely dangerous.
“Sparklers burn at an average of 2,000 degrees,” Collins said. “Do not let your children run around unsupervised and don’t wear loose clothing (while holding sparklers).”
Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix, he added. If you’re drinking this Fourth of July, he recommends having a designated person who stays sober to light any fireworks. “Drinking adds a level of danger that can be easily avoided,” he said.
When launching fireworks, be careful of “duds.” South Carolina State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones recommends waiting at least 15 minutes before approaching the defective firework and then submerge it in a bucket of water.
Be aware of weather conditions in your area before launching fireworks. Wind can cause projectiles to be blown off course and explode in unintended areas. Collins recommends avoiding dry areas as there is a heightened risk for fire, especially when using ground effects.
Of course, the safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a public, professionally operated show. There will be several fireworks shows available to the public on July 4.
Midway Fire and Rescue is taking serious precautions for the heightened risk of fires, fireworks related accidents, and beach safety. There is a wildfire team that can be mobilized if needed and additional beach patrol and surf rescue units will be on duty for July 4. Two people have already drowned here this year due to rip currents. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline until you are no longer being pulled from the shore. Do not try to swim against the current. Signage about relevant information is on display at every beach access.
Take precautions and consider possible outcomes when participating in inherently dangerous activities this July 4. Be mindful of local ordinances and rules in your community, and have a happy and safe Fourth of July.