As we gather this weekend to celebrate our Nation, the Fourth of July is also a celebration of summer. Beginning Thursday, our parks and communities will come alive as the warm weather arrives and our neighborhoods fill with those hungry for sunshine and barbecue. The women and men of the Fairfax County Police Department will also be promoting social distancing in public areas and ensuring the safety of residents, business owners and visitors. We are assisting all our neighborhoods and parks with visible patrols including officers on bicycle, foot and vehicles deployed to high-traffic and populated areas. Specialized units will also be on hand to support patrol efforts and safeguard waterways and major thoroughfares.
The Fourth of July and spectacular firework shows go hand in hand. However, those stunning fireworks can turn your holiday into a tragedy within seconds. Many people are injured each year in Fairfax County due to fireworks per the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Some are injured seriously and left with permanent damage.
Any firework, which explodes, emits a flame, or sparks higher than 12 feet, or performs as a projectile is prohibited by the Fairfax County Fire Prevention Code. Many fireworks are not available in Northern Virginia because they are illegal. Fireworks include any firecracker, torpedo and skyrocket or other substance that contains any explosive or inflammable compound. Approved fireworks in Fairfax County include sparklers, fountains, Pharaoh’s Serpents, or pinwheels, commonly known as whirligigs or spinning jennies.
Recommended Safety Tips –
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix and should not be used together
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
A good alternative to personal fireworks is the community displays. Several shows have been cancelled due to COVID-19 so check your local news source for information on times and locations. Please have a safe Fourth of July and stay away from dangerous and illegal fireworks.
We are also urging people to stay safe on the roads this Fourth of July weekend and avoid drinking and driving as we will be increasing vigilance and enforcement over the holiday. The officers will be on the lookout for people driving drunk, driving recklessly/speeding and other traffic violations. Our Neighborhood Patrol Units will also be out in the communities on proactive patrols. We encourage everyone to celebrate responsibly and take extra precautions to keep everyone safe.