Texans urged to remember fireworks safety as Fourth of July approaches

Fireworks sales have started for the Fourth of July holiday. Temperatures may be hot, but the recent wet weather pattern is making for a big sales year, and an increased risk for trouble.

The TNT Fireworks store east of Austin in the Garfield community is stocked up and already ringing up sales. The company, according to Chester Davis, is expecting a big holiday season.

"We're going to have a great year. I think we're going to have a tremendous year. We have got as much product as we've ever had, ever," said Davis.

Among those preparing for his own private show was Jerry Conway. He offered this advice.

"Be careful. Don't just have all the friends come out and think they can shoot fireworks. You got to keep people away from them and do it to control, you know," said Conway.

Recent rains eased drought conditions in Central Texas, and there are no major firework restrictions currently in place. Small firecrackers are popular and also sparklers. But the larger all-in-one package may just actually be the safer option.

"When you light a big cake like we have here, and all the big multi-shot cakes. If you have a good solid base for it to sit on, and you light it, and you get away, it provides the whole show for you. And the thing about it, it's all built and tested to shoot straight up in the air or angle, and then it will burn out before it ever hits the ground," said Davis.

The risk of sparking a grass fire may be lower this season. But firework-related injuries could increase, according to Jules Cromarty with Travis County ESD2.

"I think that is definitely a big concern. And one of the bigger concerns this year, especially for children of the ages between 10 and 14. That's an age where parents can often feel more comfortable allowing their kids to have fun alone, maybe unsupervised. But that's actually the highest rate of firework-related injury, between the ages of ten and 14," said Cromarty.

Authorities plan to watch the roadways next to community fireworks shows. One area is next to Typhoon Texas in Pflugerville. In previous years, that spot has had people setting up chairs along SH 130.

"I have personally responded to many calls where people are just trying to pull over, to watch the fireworks. And, due to the large volume of cars, it just causes accidents, inevitably," said Cromarty.

Travis County ESD2 offered the following safety tips:

  • Before the holiday, make a point to discuss fireworks safety with everyone in your family to decrease the chance of someone getting hurt.
  • Insist on adult supervision whenever fireworks are being lit – even for older kids. Children aged 10 to 14 years old have the highest fireworks-related injury rate of any age.
  • Alcohol and fireworks don't mix. Make sure fireworks are used under competent and sober adult supervision.
  • Fireworks are poisonous to pets. Be sure not to leave behind any used fireworks where pets (yours or someone else’s) spend time.
  • Only light fireworks OUTSIDE on a flat surface that’s far from any homes or buildings. Don’t light fireworks near dry grass or leaves – they may catch on fire.
  • Never lean over the fireworks when lighting them.
  • Soak fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash.

"Our message is we hope people enjoy the 4th of July. We hope they enjoy their time with their friends and family. And we just encourage y'all to talk about firework safety and really just try to be safe doing that," said Cromarty.