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Fire department hopes for a safe Independence Day

Fire department hopes for a safe Independence Day

The Turlock Fire Department is asking residents to use caution when setting off fireworks and to make sure the fireworks are labeled Safe and Sane, like those sold at local booths.

POSTED July 2, 2014 5:44 p.m.

The Fourth of July celebration will undoubtedly include dazzling displays of fireworks and the Turlock Fire Department will be making sure all that patriotic pageantry is within the legal and safe use of fireworks.

The TFD, joined by the Turlock Police Department, will be on high alert and on the lookout for any use of illegal fireworks over the next few days.

The only fireworks that are legal in Turlock are those approved by the State Fire Marshal, which carry the Safe and Sane logo. Piccolo Pete’s and/or Whistling Pete’s are illegal in Turlock, as are any fireworks that have been modified or altered. This includes fireworks which fly into the air or explode.

Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will have them confiscated and will be issued a citation.

The strict enforcement efforts have been put in place to curb the high number of injuries and damage caused by the fireworks.

The National Fire Protection Association reported there were 8,700 fireworks related injuries that were treated in hospital emergency rooms across the nation in 2012. Of those, 55 percent of the injuries were to extremities and 31 percent were injuries to the head.

On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires, according to the NFPA..

Last year the TFD responded to 62 calls for service on Independence Day. A typical day has the fire department responding to around 16 calls, said Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman.

With the weather forecast of temperatures above the century mark and low humidity all fireworks can be especially dangerous.

Fireworks can pose a health risk to those with respiratory issues. Fireworks emit large quantities of particulate matter, including soot, ash and metals, which cause serious health impacts, especially to people with existing respiratory conditions, elderly people and small children. Fine-particulate matter can invade the bloodstream and has been linked to heart attacks and stroke.

In addition, high levels of particulate matter jeopardize the Valley’s progress in meeting air-quality standards that protect public health, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

“We’re appealing to Valley residents to think about the impact of fireworks on their personal health and their neighbors’ health,” said Jaime Holt, the District’s chief communications officer. “Each year, people suffer from serious health consequences of activities that are entirely preventable.”

A citizen that wants to report illegal fireworks may call 668-1200 and provide information to the dispatch center.

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