Fireworks and the Law
The city of Round Rock explicitly prohibits the sale or use of any fireworks. Use or possession of fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.
Fireworks include devices which make a visible or audible effect when set off and Round Rock's ordinance specifically outlaws possession and use of sparklers, skyrockets and firecrackers.
Only those people with special licenses are allowed "controlled" fireworks displays. They take extensive precautions to ensure a safe, yet exciting show.
Property damage from fireworks
Fire departments in the U.S. respond to more fires on the 4th of July than any other day in the year because of careless handling of fireworks. Most fires occur in dry brush and grass, but many homes are destroyed or damaged on this holiday.
Nationally, more than $36 million in property is damaged each year due to fireworks.
Injuries from fireworks
The Fourth of July also is responsible for many burn injuries associated with premature detonation or misuse of fireworks. Because many injuries are not treated in emergency rooms, experts believe the total number of fireworks injuries may be far worse than reported locally.
Most firework burn injuries involve children. These are usually burns to the hands and eyes causing vision impairment and disfiguring scars.
Sparklers are the biggest danger to children. The tip temperature at the end of the sparkler reaches 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause a burn.
Yes, people can die from fireworks and the fires they cause. In 1985, 26 people were killed this way. That's a large improvement compared to 1902, when fireworks were legal in most states. In that year, fireworks and fireworks-related fires killed more than 200 people.
In 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported seven firework-related deaths and estimated 7,000 injuries. Injuries to children under 15 accounted for 40 percent of the estimated injuries.
Disposing of illegal fireworks
Citizens who have fireworks, which are illegal, may turn them in to the Inspection Division without penalty by contacting (512) 218-5590. Citizens who wish to report illegal use of fireworks should call (512) 218-5500.
Some people think that just because some fireworks are legal in some states, they are more safe. The largest share of fireworks injuries are caused by Class C fireworks, the kind that are legal in many states.
Restrictions on fireworks are for a good cause. No matter how small or large a firework device may be, it is a potential fire starter. But it is still possible to celebrate and enjoy the holiday.