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Fire chief: Be aware of firework dangers

Fireworks are lots of fun, but enjoy them responsibly! (Advocate Photo/Austin Nelson)

For some, there is no better way to kick off the New Year than by filling the sky with the spectacular bursts of fireworks.

But Fire Chief Mike Phillips wants to remind citizens of the dos and don’ts for those that plan on lighting up the sky this New Years.

First of all, fireworks are legal outside of the city limits, Phillips said, so if you live out in the county, you have nothing to worry about.

“Fireworks shows are legal inside the city limits, however, but they have to be approved by both the city and fire marshal,” Phillips said,

Currently, Phillips said he knew of no planned firework shows inside the city limits.

Safety, Phillips said, should be a top priority.

“We have been fortunate and haven’t had major accident locally,” Phillips said. “But statistics show that a lot of people get injured by fireworks each year, so we encourage people to just be safe and be aware.”

One of the most common hazards are so-called “duds”, or fireworks that do not ignite properly. So when your spectators let out a sigh of disappointment as a fuse smolders to a halt, do not attempt to re-light the firework. Injuries happen every year from citizens who pick up fireworks that they assume have burned out, Phillips said.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission compiled a press release with more tips on staying safe around fireworks.

The release reminds parents of the dangers of letting children play with fireworks especially sparklers. The tips of an ignited sparkler burn at around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt some metals, and can cause severe injuries. Adults and children alike are advised to heed safety warnings on product packaging, which means not shooting off any firecracker or firework while holding it in your hand.

Also, the CPSC recommends keeping a garden hose or bucket of water handy to use to extinguish malfunctioning fireworks and to have in case of emergency.