(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Independence Day is Thursday, and Fairfax County has some safety tips for people ahead of the festivities.
For fans of fireworks, Fairfax County is explicit on what is allowed:
Unless expressly approved by the County Fire Marshal in the form of a Fire Prevention Code Permit (FPCP), the exploding, igniting, and use of fireworks is strictly prohibited in Fairfax County and the towns of Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna. However, the supervised use of permissible fireworks on private property with the consent of the owner of such property is allowed, and a permit is not required
Permissible fireworks — consumer fireworks legally allowed for sale and use in the county — include sparklers, fountains, Pharaoh’s serpents, caps for pistols or pinwheels — whirligigs or spinning jennies. You’ll need a permit if you want fireworks or pyrotechnic displays.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has some tips for pet and human safety around fireworks.
- adults should supervisor minors around permissible fireworks
- when using permissible fireworks, place the device on a flat surface at least 50 feet away from any combustible materials and buildings
- never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have malfunctioned
- keep a bucket of water or hose handy in case of a fire
- light fireworks one at a time after reading the directions
- leave pets at home during a fireworks display
- never shoot, point or throw fireworks in the direction of a human or pet
Last Friday (June 28), the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office highlighted the harm and damage fireworks can cause with a video from a press conference that shows a fire starting after several explosions.
According to @NFPA, Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside/other fires. Caused average of 3 deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in property damage. https://t.co/lmgCKEKCD1
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) July 2, 2019
Tragedy can strike w/in seconds when fireworks are not properly and safely used. Thousands of people are injured each year in U.S. due to fireworks. Consider the following safety tips when using permissible fireworks: https://t.co/W3y9Y1wO4W #SafeFairfax pic.twitter.com/0zCJAOUcaw
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) July 2, 2019
Independence Day is right around the corner, and events all over the Tysons area invite community members to partake in family fun.
Regarding the logistics of transportation to events, local authorities warn of overcrowded parking and suggest that attendees either carpool to events, use public transit or take advantage of ride-sharing apps.
Several companies, including Lyft, offer a promotion to curtail drunk driving on busy holidays. The Washington Regional Alcohol Program announced its SoberRide campaign, which gives users a $15 Lyft promotional code to be used within the D.C. Metro area. The code will be released at 6 p.m on July 4 and will be valid for the first 1,500 users of legal drinking age. It can be found on SoberRide’s website.
Tysons Biergarten is set to celebrate America’s Independence Day on July 3 from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m on the Fourth. The beer hall will offer both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, traditional American food and live music for all to enjoy. Registration is free.
Before the lighthearted celebrations begin in the evening, the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VIPS) invites everyone to a reading of the nation’s founding documents. The readings begin at 12 p.m. in the Falls Church Episcopal Church (115 E. Fairfax Street). The group hopes it will help people recall the pillars of democracy and freedom.
Entry for the evening’s celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike) starts at 6 p.m. While guests enjoy music from The Excellent Drivers, locally operated food trucks will also be selling a variety of fare. Fireworks begin at 9:20 p.m., but this time may be updated on the Falls Church social media accounts. All events are free.
On holidays, parking is free at the West Falls Church Metro Parking Garage.
Doors for the annual community center fireworks display open after 6 p.m. at Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike). Guests can expect to be greeted with food trucks and a DJ. This is a family-friendly event. Smoking, pets, fireworks, glass containers, weapons, sparklers, vaping and alcohol will not be allowed.
Entry is free for this event but there is limited parking at the venue. More parking spots are available at McLean Community Center, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and St. Luke Catholic School, where shuttle buses will ferry guests back forth.
During the day, Vienna’s Sprinklers & Sparklers event features water slides, snow cones, and food trucks. It takes place at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) and runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
In the picnic style, Vienna also opens up Yeonas Park (1319 Ross Drive SW) for an evening of family-friendly fun. Fireworks are expected to start at sunset, or roughly 9:30 p.m. The Little League concession stand will serve food as people pile onto the lawn and listen to a live performance from The Josh Christina Band.
Photos courtesy Town of Vienna