KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — It’s the most popular time of the year for fireworks and the Kanawha County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office is wanting everyone to have a safe Independence Day holiday.

KCHSEM officials alongside the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad held a fireworks demo at Camp Virgil Tate in the county on Wednesday afternoon.

“We want to try and reduce the number of injuries that folks sustain during this time of year because everybody wants to do fireworks,” Mike Oakley with KCHSEM said.

Officials ran several demos including blowing up a watermelon that simulated a skull and using chicken legs to simulate fingers with sparklers and firecrackers.

Oakley said that sparklers can heat up to at least 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and children need to be watched with them.

“Kids are running around 4th of July they are barefoot. They throw those things down and next thing you know somebody is stepping on them or falling on them and they are burning themselves and burning them very well,” he said.

“We saw how fast it burnt the wood and it will do the same thing with skin. If you put your foot on it, it’s going to burn and leave a mark.”

According to KCHSEM, sparklers account for more than 50-percent of injuries to children five years of age or younger during this time of the year.

Sgt. JT Snyder with Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad set off most of the demos Wednesday and gave multiple safety tips.

“Don’t stand over top of the mortar tubes. When you are letting off sparklers, they burn at approximately 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. They can do a lot of damage to skin, eyes and catch clothing on fire. Try not to hold any kind of firework in your hand,” he said

Snyder also said that anyone lighting off fireworks at home to make sure that pets are inside.

“There might be a catch that if it scares them they might run after it. They may try to pick up the fireworks and there can be injuries to animals as well,” he said.

Oakley added that no one should be drinking alcohol and lighting fireworks, everyone should have water in case something catches fire, and if any fireworks do not go off after being lit to just let them lay on the ground.

The most important tip Oakley said was that the public should just avoid fireworks altogether and go to public shows.

“Load up the family, go to the professionals, watch the fireworks display, go home and have a good time,” he said.

KCHSEM said in from June 22 to July 22, 2018, more than 9,000 firework related ER visits were recorded nationwide and a reported five fatalities.

More tips can be found HERE.

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