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Baltimore City

Baltimore officials warn of fireworks dangers as July Fourth celebrations approach

Baltimore City officials on Friday urged residents to leave the fireworks to the professionals as the city gears up to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Baltimore’s skyline is poised to light up Monday, along with other Fourth of July festivities, for the first time since 2019. A variety of entertainment, including and musical performances in and around the Inner Harbor, will precede the firework extravaganza.

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“As residents are celebrating, it’s important that we remind them of the dangers of fireworks and sparklers,” Mayor Brandon Scott said Friday during a joint press conference with other city leaders.

Council President Nick Mosby said everyone is encouraged to come out and enjoy the return of the fireworks show.

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“By saying that, we don’t need you to get your own fireworks in your alleys or at your barbecues or anywhere in the city of Baltimore,” Mosby said. “Why do that when you can come and listen to all the amazing music, see all the amazing talent and watch the fireworks display over the city skyline downtown.”

All fireworks are illegal in Baltimore City. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

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“Our officers will be on the streets looking for illegal sales, distribution and illegal lighting of fireworks,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said. “In addition, we will be actively patrolling looking for anyone discharging firearms into the air, which are both dangerous and illegal.”

While the sale of fireworks is legal in some neighboring states, including Pennsylvania, it is illegal to purchase fireworks in other states and ignite them in Maryland.

The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal said illegal fireworks include devices that fly into the air; pieces that create a loud explosion; or Chinese-style lanterns with no control of direction or path.

Fireworks and sparklers are some of the main attractions for the Fourth of July and on New Year’s, officials said. They are also extremely dangerous and can cause loss of vision, severe burns and create fires, city leaders said Friday.

Sparklers also aren’t safe either because children can be injured by them, they said. Temperatures of sparklers can reach up to 3000 degrees. Glow sticks, confetti, balloons, and other outside projector setups could be an alternative to enjoy the fireworks at home, officials said.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission annual report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments in 2018, said Kimberly Eshleman, director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at Baltimore City Health Department.

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For those who are going to be handling legal fireworks this Fourth of July, here are five tips to keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • A bucket of water or a hose should be nearby when using fireworks, in case of a fire.
  • Used fireworks should be doused with a significant amount of water.
  • Do not throw fireworks in the air.
  • Children should never pick up fireworks.
  • Only adults should handle fireworks and should supervise all fireworks activity.

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