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West Virginia / Attorney General State Seal
Phone: 304-558-2021
Press Release


Contact: Beth Ryan
Phone: (304) 558-2021

Release Date: July 2, 2013

Attorney General Morrisey urges West Virginians to be safe, avoid illegal fireworks on July Fourth

CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged West Virginians to be safe this Fourth of July by celebrating with sparklers or other legal novelty items and not with illegal fireworks.

“It is tradition to want to celebrate our nation’s independence with a bang by watching fireworks light up the sky,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “But it is important to remember that fireworks are dangerous, and many are illegal for consumers to own and set off.”

State law allows consumers to use sparklers and novelty items, such as snakes and glow worms, noisemakers, snappers and smoke balls. (State Code §29-3-23)

The National Council on Fireworks Safety says consumer fireworks are safer than ever thanks to laboratory and other testing programs, as well as rigorous enforcement of fireworks regulations by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, fireworks-related accidents do occur each year. Incidents can be reduced by following some basic safety steps, including:

Ø Always have plenty of water nearby if using sparklers or other novelties;
Ø Do not use any kind of fireworks, including sparklers and novelty items, indoors;
Ø Soak spent sparklers in water to ensure they cool off appropriately;
Ø Always remain standing while using sparklers;
Ø Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time;
Ø Do not throw, run with or wave sparklers;
Ø Never hold a child while using sparklers, and do not let children hold sparklers.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said six people were killed by professional, homemade or banned firework devises in 2012, and an estimated 8,700 people were taken to the hospital for fireworks-related injuries. Roughly 5,000 of those incidents happened in the weeks around the July Fourth holiday (June 22-July 22, 2012), and more than half of those involved burns to the hands, head and face. Sparklers and bottle rockets were involved in about 1,000 of the hospital visits.

“The safest way to celebrate the Fourth of July is to go to one of the many July Fourth events around this great state,” Morrisey said. “Leave the fireworks to the professionals. It will help to ensure everyone has a happy and safe Independence Day.”