Media Contact: Cherie Yurco;
For immediate release — June 30, 2022
(DALLAS) — With fireworks and Independence Day celebrations just around the corner, Dallas College fire protection experts are offering tips on how to avoid starting the weekend with the wrong kind of “bang.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more fires on July 4 than any other day of the year. Dallas College Fire Protection Technology faculty member Billy Robinson (retired battalion chief, Dallas Fire Rescue) and department chair Ceaser Espinoza offer some advice on safe celebrations, from handling fireworks to grilling in ways that won’t start a fire.
July is the peak month for grill fires. Here are some precautions to follow for your Fourth of July barbecue:
- Grills should only be used outdoors and should be placed well away from homes, deck railings, eaves and branches. Never grill on a balcony.
- Never leave a grill unattended. It only takes a split second for a fire to get out of hand.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from grills.
- Keep your grill clean. Built-up grease and fat can spark flare-ups.
- In a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid, and never mix it with other flammable liquids. Make sure the coals are completely cool before disposing into a metal container.
- For propane grills, periodically check the hose for leaks. If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department. If the flame goes out, turn off the grill and gas and wait at least five minutes before attempting to relight.
While consumer fireworks are legally sold in Texas, they are illegal within most city limits. In addition, currently
174 Texas counties are under a burn ban. Laws regarding fireworks change year to year, and it is your responsibility to know what’s allowed in your area. Safer, kid-friendly alternatives include celebrating with glow sticks, silly string or noise makers. Espinosa and Robinson recommend attending an event with professional firework displays.
“Understanding how dangerous fireworks can be is most important,” said Robinson. “They can get super-hot quickly; they’re very unpredictable and extremely dangerous. That’s true even for the ones you may think are less dangerous. For example, sparklers get extremely hot and are not safe for kids to hold. Reactions after the firework or sparkler is lit is a major concern. If your hand gets hot or you get scared and throw the object, it can cause serious injury or fire.”
“We want everyone to stay safe if they decide to light the fuse themselves,” said Espinosa. If you do plan to set off fireworks, here are some precautions to follow:
- Purchase fireworks only from legitimate, licensed dealers.
- Fireworks should be set off by a designated adult shooter who has not been drinking alcohol and is wearing safety glasses.
- Clear the area of combustible materials — newspapers, gasoline, dry leaves — and set up away from all buildings and houses.
- Choose a site with flat, solid ground. If such an area is unavailable, lay down a flat wooden board to launch fireworks from. Never shoot them from an elevated environment, like a balcony, and don’t use any type of container, bottle or can.
- Determine required spectator distances beforehand, depending on the type of fireworks. Check the labels on each unit you are lighting.
- Bring all pets and other animals indoors.
- Carefully read all warning labels, and don’t use fireworks that don’t have warning labels.
- Only 1.4G fireworks are legal for consumers to set off in Texas, not display fireworks or skyrockets, which are restricted to professionals.
- Do not put multiple fireworks together. It is illegal to make your own fireworks.
- Never put fireworks in your pocket.
- Light one at a time, using a long-necked lighter, and make sure your hands and face are not directly over the firework. Do not re-light a firework that doesn’t ignite the first time.
- Keep a hose and large bucket of water close at hand to put out stray flames or sparks. Hose down any duds that do not ignite, and let them sit for 20 minutes before handling, then soak in a bucket of water for 15-20 minutes.
- After you are done setting off fireworks, thoroughly wet the ground where they were set off. Soak all used fireworks in water before discarding what remains.
- Do not place unused fireworks in the garbage. Store in a cool, dry place, away from flammable objects.
Dallas College wishes you and your family a safe and happy Fourth of July. To learn more about the Dallas College Fire Protection Technology program, visit
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