Staying Safe During July 4th

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks has long been a national tradition. West Virginians heartily embrace this tradition, as can be seen by the number of fireworks being sold from tents, department stores and free-standing businesses across the state.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office wants to help ensure the safety all who engage in this year’s celebratory activities, whether through the sales of or use of consumer fireworks in the Mountain State.

The fireworks legal for sale by retailers include:

  • Hand-held and ground-based sparkling devices such as sparklers, novelties, and toy caps;
  • Bottle rockets;
  • Missile-type rockets;
  • Helicopter and aerial spinners;
  • Roman candles;
  • Aerial mine and shell devices;
  • Aerial shell kits with reloadable tubes;
  • Firecrackers.

To remind West Virginians of the importance of fireworks safety this year, the State Fire Marshal’s Office is sharing these Fourth of July safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Know your fireworks. Read the warning labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Do not hold a firework in your hand unless specifically stated in the caution label.
  • Have a Designated Shooter for the fireworks, and make sure he or she reads the caution label before igniting.
  • Parents and caretakers must closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready, both in a bucket and a connected hose, if you are using fireworks.
  • Wear eye protection (safety glasses) whenever using fireworks.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  • No not use homemade fireworks, professional fireworks (often packaged in brown paper) or illegal explosives such as M-80s and quarter sticks; they can kill you!
  • Never attempt to alter or modify consumer fireworks and use them only in the manner in which they were intended.
  • 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.
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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at