The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds New Yorkers to keep safe while celebrating Independence Day. As we celebrate this annual tradition with festivities ranging from fireworks, picnics, parades, family gatherings and barbecues, let’s also remember basic safety tips that apply to everyone.
“I know many New Yorkers are eager to celebrate Independence Day this year, but we must ensure our celebrations are safe and fun,” said New York State, Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez who oversees the NYS Division of Consumer Protection. “Around this holiday, the biggest threats to safety are very close to home. The 4th of July is one of the holidays with the highest number of accidents. We want to make sure the time-honored holiday tradition of fireworks is done safely by following basic tips.”
“Summertime, and especially the Fourth of July, are times of celebration and togetherness, but when fireworks and sparkling devices are added to the party, it can lead to very serious injuries for those involved,” New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said. "The best way to stay safe this Fourth of July is to leave the fireworks to the professionals, but if you plan on using sparkling devices, please make sure you do so as safely as possible.”
Around the 4th of July, there are a lot of fire-related accidents. Every year, thousands of people — most of them children, teens and young adults — are injured while using fireworks. Most of these injuries happen in the month around the 4th of July. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that nationally nearly half of the fireworks-related injuries were to people younger than 20 years of age.
Additionally, the 4th of July is one of the most dangerous holidays to be on the road. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, dates around this holiday, sadly, often see an increase in impaired driving crashes. Drunk driving isn’t the only risky behavior causing crashes on our roads; drug-impaired and distracted driving are issues too. Many people recognize that driving under the influence is dangerous. However, many people fail to recognize the danger of driving while distracted, especially if they try to talk or text on a cell phone.
NYS Division of Consumer Protection wants you to enjoy a safe holiday and offers these tips you can follow:
FIREWORKS - WHAT’S LEGAL AND WHAT’S NOT IN NEW YORK STATE:
- Sale of sparkling devices by registered sellers from June 1 until July 5 annually. Sparkling devices are ground-based or handheld sparking devices that produce a shower of colored sparks or colored flame, crackling or whistling noise and smoke. They do not launch into the air.
- Users must be 18 years or older to use sparkling devices.
What’s Not Legal:
- Sparkling devices are illegal 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 is ever changing, thus to be sure your compliant please check with your local county sheriff’s office.
- Any other types of fireworks including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners, and aerial devices are illegal statewide.
TIPS TO CELEBRATE SAFELY:
Tips for Using Sparkling Devices Safely:
- Children and Sparklers are a Dangerous Combination. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This 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, don’t use fireworks.
Tips for Driving Safely:
- Avoid driving while impaired. If you are driving this July 4th, make sure to watch out for others as they may not be sober.
- If you plan to drink, make a plan ahead of time for a sober ride home.
- A sober driver is one who does not drink at all, not the one who has had the least to drink from a group of people. Even if you’ve had only one drink, let someone who hasn’t been drinking take you home.
- If you’re hosting a 4th of July gathering, help the designated drivers out by making sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.
To learn more about consumer safety, or to file a marketplace consumer complaint against a business or individual, please contact the Division’s Consumer Helpline at (800) 697-1220 or visit its website at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. Follow the Division of Consumer Protection on social media at Twitter: @NYSConsumer and Facebook: www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.