Fireworks Safety Urged As Oklahomans Celebrate Fourth of July
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - While thousands flock to fireworks shows, other Oklahomans choose to light the fuse themselves.
That's why the Fourth of July is the busiest time of the year for firefighters.
"As soon as the fireworks salesmen start selling the fireworks, our runs start picking up," Tulsa Fire Department Capt. Josh Rutlege said.
Despite the rules and regulations, the calls will only keep flooding in the closer we get to the Fourth, Rutlege said.
On Independence Day 2012, TFD responded to at least 80 fireworks-related fires.
"We are going to be busy from the start of the shift until the end of the shift," he said.
Most of the calls were grass fires in Tulsa last year, but two apartments and two homes also received significant damage.
Since 1938, it's been illegal in the Tulsa city limits to shoot fireworks.
Surrounding cities like Owasso and Sperry also have adopted that rule, with others requiring $20 permits.
Not purchasing a permit could cost much more.
"The fines start at $220 dollars, and go up to $500," Rutlege said.
Freda Buckley, who sells fireworks at the Boom Boom Room, said business truly is booming.
"It's starting to really get busy," she said. "Starting tomorrow it will be picking up a whole lot."
Stands like The Boom Boom Room and B&B Fireworks have set up shop right on the city limits off 56th Street North.
"First things first, we let them know this is the county line," Anna Rogers of B&B Fireworks said. "If you wanna shoot some fireworks, don't go that way."
Some may think it would be the "big" fireworks that are the most dangerous, but according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it's sparkers that cause the most injuries.
Sparklers get as hot as 2,000 degrees.
And while it seems like children are the most at risk, nearly two-thirds of fireworks-related injuries are to adults. Most of those are men.
The commission suggests only lighting one at a time, keeping a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, and never trying to re-light or pick up a firework that hasn't gone off.
If you'd like to report illegal fireworks activity inside of Tulsa, call 918-596-9222.