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DC Mayor deploys 'Go Teams' to ensure firework safety during 4th of July weekend

Mayor Bowser says residents should take precautions when celebrating the holiday during the public health emergency.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser shared the dangers of fireworks and the importance of safety ahead of the Fourth of July weekend during a news conference on Wednesday.

Bowser said the city will activate Go Teams that will be out on the streets of D.C. to educate residents on firework safety. The Go Teams will work closely with FEMS and other agencies to check on areas where they are concerned about firework use. Safety teams have already been assigned to 17 neighborhoods so far for firework safety, Bowser said.

This initiative is to ensure residents are safe and are properly educated on legal and illegal fireworks in the city, Bowser said. 

Last year there were nine serious reported incidents involving multiple children and just this year four incidents were reported related to illegal fireworks, including an 11-year-old girl with second-degree burns on her shoulder and neck, officials said.

Officials urge residents to take precautions when lighting fireworks and ask that people never allow children to touch them, to read instructions thoroughly, clear of the area before igniting, have a bucket of water nearby, and to never relight fireworks.

Here's a list of fireworks that are permitted and not permitted in the District in accordance with FEMS guidance:

Illegal Fireworks

  • Any fireworks that move or shoots projectiles
  • Any fireworks that explodes
  • Any fireworks that emit sparks or flames that are larger than 12-feet

Legal Fireworks

  • Sparkles less than 20 inches
  • Torches
  • Box fires
  • Fountains
  • Dipsticks
  • Paper novelty items
  • Colored light
  • Paper caps

To request a safety team in a D.C. neighborhood, residents can contact the Fire Marshall Office at 202-727-1614.

To learn more information about firework safety in the District, click here.

Officials said the city is expecting a large turnout at fireworks showings and at the National Mall and they are encouraging residents to choose activities wisely considering the high coronavirus risk.

Leaders urge residents to seek guidance for hosting gatherings and attending events on the city website.

For people hosting gatherings, they should enforce social distancing and should not invite more people than they have space for, Bowser said. People need to be responsible and to tell their guests that if they are not feeling well they should not attend the event.

City guidance suggests that people hosting gatherings should have a guest list in case of contact tracing, limit the use of shared items, use proper hygiene, and consider providing cleaning supplies for guests.

Bowser said outdoor activities are preferred over indoor activities, but residents should be reminded that the virus can still be spread outdoors and remains prominent in the region.

Although there are a low number of COVID-19 cases, D.C. continues to have moderate community spread, officials said.

RELATED: DC coronavirus update: Mayor Bowser shares guidance to safely celebrate 4th of July gatherings, activities during pandemic

RELATED: Coronavirus updates: Virginia begins Phase 3 of reopening

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