The Suffolk Police Department offers one tip for county residents on the Fourth of July: “Leave the fireworks to the professionals.”
To demonstrate the danger fireworks pose, emergency responders used them to blow up a 10-by-12-foot shed Tuesday at a news conference at the Smith Point County Park beach in Shirley. The shed, donated by Sheds USA, exploded for at least a full minute as police, the department’s emergency services section, the bomb squad and firefighters stood by.
Police also cautioned about the high temperature reached by sparklers.
“Sparklers can burn up to 2,000 degrees,” Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said at the news conference. “It’s one of the biggest dangers, because there’s a false sense of security. You’re simply taking an unnecessary risk.”
On a table, police displayed a variety of pyrotechnics — including fireworks, firecrackers and mortars.
According to the National Safety Council, the Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday of the year, Sini said.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 11 nonoccupational fireworks-related deaths nationwide in 2015 and 11,900 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to fireworks.
Mastic Beach Fire Department Commissioner Bill Biondi recalled the death a few decades ago of a young boy at Stony Brook University Hospital of injuries from sticking his head in a mortar.
Biondi and Sini said people should go to fireworks shows where professionals put on a safe show.
“You’re going to be much happier on the Fourth of July weekend if your arm’s not blown off than if you’re able to set off a few fireworks,” Sini said.
Sini also noted the dangers of driving or boating while intoxicated. He said in Suffolk County, from 4 p.m. July 1 to 8 a.m. July 5, 2016, 54 drivers were arrested on DWI charges and one boater on a BWI.
Extra DWI patrols will be assigned in all precincts, Sini said, adding extra squad and foot patrols will be assigned on Fire Island.