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Friday, May 6, 2016

Tips for firework safety

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Generally speaking, one of the highlights of summer is the 4th of July holiday. And of course, nothing says the 4th like fireworks. Fireworks can be fun, but are also dangerous. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is through viewing a public display conducted by a professional. Every year, thousands of Americans are injured during Independence Day weekend and many of those injuries are firework-related. Children, especially, are vulnerable to injuries due to use of fireworks, particularly firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers. The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns. Be aware of these potential dangers, and always supervise children.

Indiana fireworks related laws state:

* Only individuals 18 years of age or older can purchase fireworks,

* Fireworks can only be used on the user's property, the property of someone who granted permission for fireworks to be discharged, or a place designated by the Indiana State Fire Marshal for the discharge of consumer fireworks, and

* Fireworks can only be discharged between the hours of 9 a.m.-11 p.m., any day except on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and New Year's Eve where the times are 9 a.m.-midnight.

A reminder to residents of these fundamental firework safety considerations:

* Never let children handle, play with or light any fireworks,

* Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children,

* Use a clear, open area and keep your audience a safe distance from the shooting site,

* Do not alter any fireworks device or attempt to make your own fireworks,

* Only light one firework item at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a "dud" firework,

* Be cautious when lighting fireworks when it is windy,

* Never aim, point, or throw fireworks at another person,

* Use fireworks outdoors, never indoors, and

* Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose or bucket of water nearby.

Brazil Fire Chief Jake Bennett said the dry conditions most of Indiana is in would certainly play a role.

"A basic safety concern this year for our community is the dry conditions we are under and the impact of fireworks within these conditions," Bennett said. "The city has had an ordinance in place for many years that restricts open burning to only permit small ceremonial cooking fires, but this does not apply to fireworks."

Bennett said as of now there is still no burn ban.

"The County Commissioners have the authority to issue a countywide burn ban, and they are monitoring conditions," Bennett said. "There has not been a significant rise in the number of brush fires."

According to Bennett, even if a burn ban is issued, it doesn't affect the use of fireworks.

"Safety can be legislated by issuing burn bans, but even these types of countywide burn bans do not restrict the use of fireworks," Bennett said. "It's important to be proactive and educate the community as a whole and advocate sensible decisions when it comes to fireworks and burning. 'Fire Weather Warnings' have been issued, and obviously brush fires are more likely in these conditions.'"

Bennett said people should be conscience of all warnings.

"Those that live in the city limits are already restricted, and those that live in the outlying areas should be conscience of these warnings," Bennett said. "People are being careful, and we want that to continue through the holiday, and allow for a means to celebrate safely. However, with the population of the city and the proximity between homes it is a concern when it comes to fireworks, especially those that are airborne. In these dry conditions, we strongly encourage residents to attend public displays of fireworks and limit their personal use of fireworks to those that do not leave the ground and that they refrain from using any type of aerial firework devices."

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