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Allegheny County emergency officials are urging residents to be safe during the Independence Day weekend.
“In 2020, many commercial fireworks displays were cancelled due to the pandemic,” said Matt Brown, chief of Allegheny County Emergency Services. This caused many increases in fireworks purchases and use by the public. This trend also resulted in increased noise complaints, fire damages and injuries to those involved or nearby and has continued into 2021.”
Brown said residents should “consider leaving the fireworks displays to the professionals.”
McKeesport will have a fireworks display at Renziehausen Park at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, following a concert by The Vogues at the Lions Bandshell. Other nearby communities with fireworks on July 4 include Monroeville, at the Monroeville Mall Annex, and the city of Pittsburgh at Point State Park.
Kennywood will not have fireworks this year, the park announced. Instead, fireworks will be hosted at its sister facility, Idlewild Park & SoakZone in Westmoreland County, at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
“If you are planning to purchase and use fireworks, be considerate of your neighbors and pets regarding noise and hazards, follow the safety guidance provided to avoid fires and injury, and pay close attention to where fireworks are lit and landing,” Brown said. “Dry conditions during the summer add to the threat of fire spread from fireworks.”
In 2018, the last year for which statistics are available, more than 9,100 Americans were treated for fireworks-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms.
About 36 percent of injuries involved children under the age of 15, and about half of the reported injuries were burns. The head, eyes, face or ears were most frequently impacted.
Over 18,000 fires are started each year due to fireworks and those fires cause an average of $43 million in direct property damage, county officials said.
County officials said that residents who plan to use fireworks should obey some safety rules:
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire.
• Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers.
• Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency.
• Only allow adults to light and handle fireworks. They should be lit one at a time, and the person lighting the firework should then quickly back away.
• Always remain at a safe distance from the ignition location.
• Be sensitive of neighbors and their pets, particularly if military veterans live nearby.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
• After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires.
While the state’s final mitigation order related to mask wearing has been lifted, residents should still consider wearing a mask if not fully vaccinated, particularly if they are in a large gathering, such as at a fireworks show, county officials said.
Under state law, fireworks cannot be ignited or discharged on public or private property without the express permission of the property owner. Fireworks cannot be discharged from within a motor vehicle or building, or discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
Fireworks cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, regardless of whether a person is actually present, or while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.
Originally published July 02, 2021.