Proudly providing resilience education and training in the Shenandoah Valley since 2000.
Resiliency Digest
July 2020
News & tips for being ready
before, during, and after emergencies.
Fireworks Safety 2020
Increase in Fireworks Use Demands Extra Caution
News outlets have been reporting a significant increase in fireworks complaints across the country long before the 4th of July holiday, including cities here in the Shenandoah Valley. Fireworks retailers indicate that sales have doubled or tripled since last year, leading Julie L. Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association to speculate in a Washington Post article that it's because, “Everybody has been in lockdown mode for over three months,” she said. “There’s nothing to do. You can’t go to a movie theater, there are no festivals, there are no events, nobody’s going on vacation, they’re just stuck at home . . . and they’re deciding that, hey, fireworks are affordable family fun.”

Do Cancellations of Traditional Displays Call for Private Shows?
Add the fact that many traditional fireworks displays have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no doubt that many people are considering creating their own 4th of July show. If you happen to be one of them, keep fireworks safety top of mind while celebrating Independence Day 2020.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Realize Regulations Where You Live Vary
Also be sure you are aware of local fireworks laws where you live, as one Shenandoah Valley city has outlawed “any firework with an explosive compound inside” entirely. Check this handy WHSV-TV3 guide of fireworks ordinances by state and city to see which one!
Travel Safety During Pandemic
If you're planning to travel this summer, extra precautions to keep yourself and others safe while on the move should be taken BEFORE you start your trip. The CDC has compiled a useful list of considerations for travel, and in addition to the recommended hygience and masks, be sure to check special restrictions where you may be traveling in the US.
Don’t Forget Safety When Enjoying the Outdoors 
The Shenandoah Valley is known as an ideal outdoor recreation destination but being prepared for whatever the great outdoors may throw at you is always a must. In addition to making sure you head off dehydration and heat exhaustion by bringing at least a quart of water per hour per person (and don’t forget water for your pet! ) on those outdoor forays, Shenandoah National Park officials also recommend you pack plenty of high-calorie snacks to help prevent exhaustion both regular and heat related.
Ticks , thunder and lightning storms, and tumbling over waterfalls are additional hazards to consider. Pack rain gear and take cover if a storm rolls in. NEVER climb a waterfalls or cross streams at the top of a waterfall. “This is simply one of the most dangerous, potentially deadly things you can do in the Park. ” Check thoroughly for ticks when returning from your hike. 
For additional resources to help protect yourself, loved ones, and property, visit the National Weather Service, , U.S. Fire Administration , and the National Safety Council .  
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