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State Fire Marshal's office warns residents of fireworks danger

James Dawson
Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal says fireworks lead to injuries, which is why they are illegal in Delaware.



As Fourth of July approaches, they’re reminding residents that they can’t use, possess or sell fireworks in the First State.


Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio says the use of fireworks has been illegal in the First State since the 1950s.


"The dangers are very severe and it can end up being a burn to losing an eye or hand, or catching your clothing on fire and causing burns from head to toe," Chionchio said.


And Chionchio adds it's not just the user that's at risk when people set off their own fireworks.

"If you think you’re okay with fireworks and you think you know what you’re doing - have some consideration for your neighbors," Chionchio said.


The Office of the State Fire Marshal says close to 12,000 people nationwide were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 2015. Around 8,000 happened on July 4.


He says non-professionals caught with fireworks could be fined a significant amount on a case by case basis.


He adds if you use fireworks and you hurt somebody, you could be charged with arson.


Public displays of fireworks conducted by professionals are still allowed. There will be fireworks displays all over the state including in Wilmington, Dover and Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.


And during public displays of fireworks, the Brandywine Valley SPCA says pet owners should keep a close eye on their pets. They've included these tips in an email to Delaware Public Media.


Preparing for fireworks:

·         Give your pet plenty of exercise earlier in the day to encourage resting.

·         Leave your pets at home when you go to parks, picnics or other festivities with fireworks.

·         Keep your pet in a quiet area of your home, such as a crate your dog finds comfortable and safe.

·         Turn on the radio or tv to help mask outdoor noise.

·         Make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag and that your microchip registration has your latest contact information.

If your pet gets out:

·         Call the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare to report your pet missing: 302-255-4646

·         Keep an eye on our Lost/Found Pets of Delaware Facebook page

·         Check with local police and area veterinarians.

·         Put a photo of your lost pet on social media.

·         Hang up posters in your community.

·         For cats, put out something near house that has a familiar scent, such as a litterbox or blanket.