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Jun 20

Fireworks Safety is a Must

Posted on June 20, 2022 at 11:35 AM by Kristy Bansemer

Similar to many of you, our firefighters are looking forward to celebrating Independence Day, a revered and important moment in American history. We enjoy watching the parade pass by Firehouse 81, and look forward to the open house at the Station following the parade.

While we associate July 4 with fun and fireworks, many of our firefighters have a different insight on the holiday because of their on-the-job experience over the years. For my column I have taken the opportunity to ask a firefighter what he does to prevent “the other shift” from responding to his home and earning an unwanted nickname.

Fire Captain and Derby resident Hector Gonzalez answered a few questions.

If you had to pick one thing you think you are hyper aware of while shooting off fireworks what would it be?
Without a doubt, children. If a misfire were to happen, injuries sustained by a child are much more pronounced than adult injuries. Children may also lack awareness of what could potentially injure them. I watch everything they do.  

If you could pass along one safety message what would that be?
We have seen many times when someone wants to be a good neighbor and clean up debris and put it in a trash container. They likely checked to make sure the debris had been fully extinguished and even wet down, but there are instances when reignition of debris has occurred and a fire has started.

What should someone do with fireworks debris?
It’s okay to dispose of the debris after wetting it down. Make sure you place debris in a non-flammable container away from structures or anything else that could ignite. Do not use the Rubbermaid trashcan that may be sitting in your garage.  

Do you take extra steps to avoid needing the fire department when shooting fireworks?
I make sure my garden hose is hooked up, and I have a bucket of water nearby. I take note of where the fallout is landing and we may change locations where we shoot fireworks. The only thing worse than catching my house on fire would be catching a neighbor’s house on fire. I also make sure car windows are up and oftentimes close my garage doors.

I hope these tips will help you and your family have a safe and happy Independence Day. If anything unexpected happens, know your Derby firefighters will be working and ready to respond.

John Turner, Fire Chief

Published in The Derby Informer on June 15, 2022.