Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Eric A. Rivas enjoys the spectacular fireworks display with his son Cash at the 2003 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show Saturday. The display was one of many attractions during the airshow, which took place Oct. 17, 18 and 19. Photo by Sgt. M. P. Shelato

Photo by Sgt. M. P. Shelato

Independence day celebration calls for safety first

27 Jun 2005 | Pfc. Drew W. Barker

When most Marines think about the Fourth of July, they are filled with feelings of national pride, patriotism and anticipation for the extended holiday weekend and the celebration of our nation’s independence. And to many Marines, America’s birthday party wouldn’t be complete without a few essential ingredients including some barbecue, a few carbonated beverages, and of course, everyone’s favorite, fireworks.

The key to having enjoyable Independence Day merriment is ensuring a high level of safety, especially in regards to the traditional July Fourth fireworks display.

“Improper or irresponsible use of pyrotechnics can result in personal injury to include the loss of limbs, damage to vision and hearing, severe burns and property damage and accidental fires,” said Robert Nichols, assistant chief of fire prevention, Fire and Emergency Services Division, Installation Security and Safety Department, Marine Corps Base. “Fireworks should only be used under the close supervision of adults and in accordance with all base orders and state laws.”

Both Camp Lejeune and the state of North Carolina have established rules and regulations pertaining to fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices.

According to Base Order 1132.1K, the storage, sale or use of fireworks and homemade explosive devices of any kind is strictly prohibited aboard Camp Lejeune, unless otherwise authorized by the Commanding General, Marine Corps Base.

Marines and their families living on base must adhere to the rules outlined in the base order, but are also entitled to partake in the holiday festivities. Therefore, they will be given the opportunity to enjoy a sanctioned fireworks display here presented by Marine Corps Community Services, July 1, according to Jack Erdman, deputy safety manager with Base Safety Division, Installation Security and Safety Department, Marine Corps Base. 

“MCCS puts on a big show every year,” said Nichols. “It’s a great opportunity to view fireworks and have fun in a safe environment.”

For servicemembers living off base, state law authorizes the purchase and use of consumer fireworks that are generally classified as sparklers, fountains, and novelty fireworks items that do not have a report (explode) or are not intended to spin or to leave the ground and fly through the air, according to North Carolina General Statutes 14-410 through 14-415.

Fireworks prohibited by state laws include items such as firecrackers, ground spinners, roman candles, rockets (including bottle rockets), mortars and any other explosive or aerial fireworks.

Also, North Carolina law requires the purchaser of any consumer fireworks to be at least 16 years old.

While observance of defined rules and regulations is a must, the most important thing individuals can do to create a safe environment while handling and using fireworks is follow these basic safety tips established by the National Council on Fireworks Safety: Always read and follow label directions; have an adult present at all times; use outdoors only; always have water handy; light only one firework at a time; never re-light a "dud" firework, (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water); never give fireworks to small children; dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan; never throw or point fireworks at other people.

“Improper use is very dangerous and could result in death and serious injury,” said Nichols. “The keys to having a safe and enjoyable holiday is to keep small children away from the fireworks, always have close supervision from a responsible adult and use basic common sense.”