BURTON, SC (WSAV) – For many of you, fireworks are the first thing that comes to mind when it’s the 4th of July.

They look great and can be a lot of fun, but they can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.


News 3 went to the experts at the Burton Fire Department for a hands-on demonstration of how quickly your vacation can change.

“Fireworks are not designed to interact with people,” explained Burton Fire Department Captain Lee Levesque.

That’s why we used dummies provided by Belk and brought in experts from the Burton Fire Department to demonstrate just how dangerous these explosives can be.

“We all say, ‘It can’t happen to us, it won’t happen here. I’ve done this 100 times.’ It only takes 101. That one can make the difference between life, death, a hospital stay,” Levesque said.

Last year alone, there were more than 10,000 fireworks injuries in the United States, six of which resulted in death.

Many of these injuries are caused by carelessness or unsafe behavior of the people treating the injuries.

“Make sure you know exactly what they’re going to do, how they’re going to ignite, and how they’re going to react once they ignite,” Levesque advised.

“Some of the things we fired today, we had questions like, ‘Where is this going to come from?'” the captain smiled. “Before you light it, know where it’s going so you can be aware that people are watching you and, God forbid, you don’t want to start a house or the woods or an accidental fire somewhere.”

Levesque said unexploded bombs can be particularly dangerous.

“No matter where, when or how you use fireworks, always make sure you have water very, very close by, specifically a bucket. Some fireworks don’t go off. Also known as duds in that capacity, the manufacturers tell us, leave it alone for five minutes. Don’t go anywhere near it. Absolutely. Don’t tell. Douse it with water. Before you touch it, make sure you have a glove to touch it and then put it in a bucket of water and leave it there for at least 24 hours before you throw it away.”

The captain said that although the 4th of July is a holiday, sometimes bad things happen to good people.

“It is critical that no matter what we do, we take a moment in everything we do this weekend and every day to think about our own safety, the safety of those around us, and certainly our families, our pets and our homes,” Levesque said.

Another tip: set off fireworks in an open field or large open area, not near woods or other flammable materials.

“When it comes to clothing, just because it says it’s non-flammable doesn’t mean it won’t melt,” the captain said.

Make sure there is enough room to watch the fireworks go up, but also make sure nothing else ‘goes up’.