ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Personal fireworks are illegal in Illinois, and fire professionals say that’s for a reason.
“We’ve seen, historically, structure fires, building fires, related grass fires, and a lot of injuries,” said Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matthew Knott. “And it’s just, absolutely, something that’s absolutely preventable.”
Knott says it’s important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous, both physically and to the environment, which has been abnormally dry this summer.
Officials say snakes, smoke devices, party poppers and sparklers are permitted. But, doctors warn that even those can be unsafe.
“The most common [injury] that we see are superficial burns from sparklers or other fireworks injuries, loss of fingers or, sometimes, more serious injuries,” said Dr. Nicholas Kuehnel, a pediatric emergency medicine physician for UW Health Kids.
Kuehnel says sparklers can burn up to 2,000 degrees, and every year, 3,000 children get hurt from fireworks.
“Just remember to have someone supervising, to make sure all are safe,” he said. “Remember to not pick up the fireworks after they’re done and if there are alternatives to fireworks, such as glow sticks instead of sparklers, they can be really nice alternatives.”
Chief Knott says anyone planning on having sparklers at their 4th of July party should have a bucket of water or sand nearby.
“We encourage everybody to leave those to the professionals,” he said. “There’s great shows in the area. Just go attend one of those. And, like I said, that’s a much much safer and a better show than what you can do at home, anyway.”
The Rockford Fire Department says it takes the use of illegal fireworks seriously, and will confiscate them, along with a fire of up to $750.