Archive for Tuesday, July 3, 2001

But, let’s be careful out there

July 3, 2001

Shooting off Roman candles, missiles and firecrackers in the driveway or the backyard are generally thought of as fun traditions around the Fourth of July.

But these Independence Day festivities can easily turn dangerous if precautions aren't taken.

Fire Chief Allen Craig said common sense must be used to stay safe when discharging fireworks.

"People just need to be careful," he said.

According to the Office of the Kansas State Fire Marshal, fireworks injuries and deaths have increased seven percent since 1999. Two-thirds of those injured were under the age of 19.

"Make sure kids are always supervised," Craig said.

It's also a good idea to take extra precautions if the grass is dry, he said.

"Have a garden hose, bucket of water or fire extinguisher around," he said. "A lot of it depends on how much shooting you're going to do and how dry things are."

In Baldwin, fireworks may only be purchased and shot July 2, 3 and 4. They may only be shot between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Douglas County allows only class-C fireworks, like Roman candles and black cats, and class-A fireworks, including sparklers and smoke balls.

Bottle rockets, including Whistling Moons and Double Banger Pop Rockets, or any other type of rocket mounted to a stick or wire are illegal. Possession of illegal fireworks can result in a fineof up to $100.

Even though Craig has seen only minor injuries and small grass fires in Baldwin in past years, he said there's no reason to forget to take precautions.

"I just hope every one has a safe and fun Fourth of July," Craig said.

Other fireworks safety tips to follow:

Only purchase fireworks approved in your area.

Purchase fireworks from a reputable dealer.

Wear eye protection.

Read and follow label instructions.

Do not point or throw fireworks at a person, building or animal.

Do not shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

Don't carry fireworks in pockets.

Light only one firework at a time.

Do not attempt to re-light duds.

Only light fireworks in a safe outdoor area.

Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

Keep water handy.

Dispose of fireworks properly.

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