BURGAW – With so many communities canceling firework displays, residents may be tempted to host their own July 4th celebration with store-bought fireworks. In North Carolina, fireworks that do not fly or explode are legal.

“If you plan on having fireworks only Safe and Sane fireworks are legal in North Carolina,” said Alan W. Cutler, Pender County Sheriff.

Fireworks classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, fountains, smoke devices, snake and glow worms, party poopers or snappers.

“Fireworks are beautiful, but they can be a recipe for serious burns and injuries,” warns Woody Sullivan, Pender EMS & Fire Chief. “No one under the age of 16 years old should handle a firework unsupervised.”

Each year, fireworks are linked to a few deaths and thousands of injuries as well as causing wildfires.

“Enjoy the 4th of July weekend with family and friends and please leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Fire Marshal and Assist Emergency Management Director. “Thousands of people are injured each year and many accidental fires are started from consumer fireworks.”

“The most dangerous illegal fireworks include explosive or aerial fireworks and Roman candles,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager Director. “These are unpredictable explosives.”

Smith reminds residents that all fireworks require extreme caution, including sparklers.

Sullivan said sparklers burn at a temperature of around 2000 degrees, which can cause third-degree burns.

“Children should never handle sparklers without parent supervision,” said Sullivan. “Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and often burn the feet of children who drop a sparkler.”

Smith also reminds residents, if fireworks are exploding in a neighborhood, remember to secure your pet. Animals are often frightened by the loud noises. Pets tend to run away from the loud noises.

“Please be mindful of people and animals during this holiday weekend,” said Cutler.

Another summer concern is water safety. Pender County’s emergency responders remind us to swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present if available, and swim with others, never swim alone.

“Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” said Cutler.

Pender County, as with many beach communities, has experienced rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler, Pender County Emergency Management, and Pender County EMS & Fire personnel wish you a safe and Happy 4th of July but urge caution when participating in all summer activities.

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