The Fourth of July may feel a little different this year due to COVID-19. Smaller barbecues, fewer parties, and limited celebrations filled with displayed fireworks. Although sparklers and similar items can be bought and sold in much of New York State, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) urges residents to let professionals handle the fireworks.

• Branchport/Keuka Park Fire Dept.’s Annual July 4th Spectacular

July 4 at 10 p.m.

Launched from behind the Branchport firehouse, prime viewing spots include the parking lot for the Finger Lakes Museum (the former Branchport School) and the roads and hills surrounding Branchport. Rte. 54A heading into Branchport is annually lined with spectators on both sides of the road (please exercise caution on public roads). As residents and tourists light up Keuka Lake with flares and campfires, this is one celebration sure to delight from all directions.

While Branchport’s annual Fireman’s Parade has been cancelled, there will be a drive-through chicken barbecue at the Branchport firehouse from noon until gone. Enter through the Finger Lakes Museum driveway on Guyanoga Rd., exit through the Branchport F.D. driveway on 54A.

• Hammondsport Firemen’s Fireworks and Parade

July 4 at 9:30 p.m.

Though Hammondsport’s annual Firemans’ Carnival has been cancelled, plans are still in place for the parade and fireworks. Food vendors will be on site at the fairgrounds from noon. Lineup for the parade begins at 5 p.m. and will commence at 6 p.m. Fireworks to begin at 9:30 p.m. 

 Prime viewing spots are the Hammondsport carnival grounds on State Rt. 54 and around the village of Hammondsport.

* Both the Watkins Glen fireworks at Clute Park and the Geneva American Legion fireworks have been cancelled this year due to concerns over COVID-19.

Legal fireworks hazards

FASNY reminds New Yorkers that although sparklers may look harmless, and almost toy-like, they are incredibly harmful and can cause serious injury and fires. “Fireworks and sparkling devices are extremely dangerous in the hands of non-professionals,” said FASNY President Steven Klein. “Although they seem fun, fireworks and sparkling devices can cause serious bodily harm and even death. Fireworks should only be used by professionals who have undergone proper training.” 

The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause severe 3rd degree burns. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), sparklers cause roughly 25 percent of all fireworks-related emergency room visits, the most of any type of fireworks device. A 2019 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that in 2018, fireworks were involved in an estimated 9,100 injuries. Between June and July of 2018, emergency rooms treated 5,600 patients for firework related injuries. Children under the age of 15 accounted for 36 percent of these injuries. According to the report, forty-four percent of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns, with the most common injury to hands, fingers, and arms.

“Rather than take the risk of getting hurt, FASNY is urging New Yorkers to either attend a fireworks display in their town or county—while maintaining proper protocols—or to watch one of the professional shows that will be televised or live-streamed,” said Klein. 

“On behalf of FASNY, and all of the dedicated firefighters who serve the Empire State, we wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe Fourth of July,” said Klein. 

Should an emergency or unsafe situation, arise call 911.