Chris Schulz Published

State Officials Offer Safety Tips Ahead of Independence Day Celebrations

Fireworks are seen in red and white above a city landscape.
Reading, PA - July 4: People set off consumer aerial fireworks in the City of Reading on Saturday night July 4, 2020 in celebration of the Fourth of July.
MediaNews Group/Reading (Pa.) Eagle via Getty Images

State officials are reminding West Virginians to have a safe Independence Day this year. 

While fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition, the sizzling, popping, colorful explosives are also the leading cause of the holiday’s accidents.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated close to 10,000 Americans were injured by everything from sparklers to mortars last year. An estimated 800 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with firecrackers and 700 with sparklers. 

In a joint press release with the Department of Human Services Wednesday, Department of Health Secretary Sherri Young said they want to help make safety a priority.

“We want to wish a happy and healthy Fourth to all,” she said. “As we come together to commemorate the foundation of our country, we want to help guarantee that safety is at the forefront of all our holiday activities.”

Tips include not standing near fireworks after lighting them, never relighting a “dud” and always supervising children around fireworks. CPSC states teenagers ages 15 to 19 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries, with children ages 5-9 years old having the second highest rate.

Additional holiday safety measures include wearing and reapplying sunscreen, staying hydrated, refraining from operating any machinery or vehicles if consuming alcohol, and practicing water safety. Water safety includes supervising all swimmers, wearing a lifejacket, choosing swimwear that can be detected underwater (bright reds, oranges, yellows, and greens are best), and learning CPR. 

“While we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s crucial to prioritize safety,” said Cynthia Persily, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services. “By reminding West Virginians of a few simple safety guidelines, we can ensure a joyful and accident-free holiday for everyone.”

Staying prepared and taking precautions are the best ways to stay safe while enjoying time with friends and family. If you do find yourself in the middle of a health emergency, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911. 

While state and county DoHS offices are closed for the Independence Day holiday, help is still available 24/7. For suspected cases of abuse and neglect, call the Centralized Intake for Abuse and Neglect at 1-800-352-6513. For emergencies, call 911.