For Jared

 In 2023, Tip of the Week

 

Jared Maddox was a retired fire driver/engineer who had worked with the Longview Fire Department in Longview, Texas. On the morning of July 4th, 2023, Jared and a few others were working to assemble a firework display for the Firehouse 9 Farm Event in nearby Gilmer. At about 10:30 that morning, there was an explosion. Jared Maddox was killed; four others were wounded. The fireworks that they were handling were 3 inches in length. To read more about the incident, click here.

Unfortunately, Jared is just one name on the list of fatalities that occurred during that holiday. While the full list of statistics for the 2023 July holiday has yet to be released, we have some information from the previous year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees non-occupational fireworks. In their report (click here)we find that there were 11 deaths reported, and there were also 10,200 injuries serious enough to be treated in hospital emergency departments. Unsurprisingly, teens make up the highest percentage of these injuries.

 

Think about the hazards that are associated with fireworks. Sparklers are a popular holiday item, often handed to children to play with. The core of a sparkler reaches about 2,000 degrees F. M-80’s are also a popular firework. The 3 grams of explosives in an M-80 can cause damage to fingers, hands, and eyes if used improperly. And it is no surprise that illegal fireworks cause a whole lot of injuries every year.

 

We looked at the ATF website to find out more about illegal fireworks. The ATF asks that if you see a firework that resembles any of the following lists, you can contact their tipline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (283-2662).

 

  • The casing resembles a roll of coins with a fuse. Some outer shells are made of cardboard tubes.
  • The device looks oddly shaped and wrapped in brown paper that may be filled with an explosive material.
  • The outer covering is red, silver or brown in color.
  • The device is often 1-6 inches long and up to an inch or more in diameter.
  • The sale is occurring in a non-commercial location, such as out of a vehicle or residence.
  • The person in possession of the device has no evidence of a receipt or commercial packaging, or they cannot tell you where they originally purchased it

 

Every year, SCM asks you to leave fireworks to the professionals. Take your family and friends to see a pyrotechnic display and celebrate the July 4th holiday. We think that Jared Maddox’s family would encourage you to stay away from using fireworks on your own.

 

Weekly Safety Challenge:

 

Talk with your coworkers, ask what they are doing for the 4th of July, remind them of fireworks safety, and see if they have any fond memories of the 4th of July!

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