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Have A Bright, Happy New Year

Observe Safety Precautions If Incorporating Fireworks Into Annual Celebration

Fireworks are for many as much a traditional part of New Year’s celebrations as a toast and kiss at midnight and eating cabbage and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.

However, without a few precautions, a fun celebration can quickly become a hazardous situation.

Eight people died and over 12,000 in the United States were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Of those, 50 percent of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20. While the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, an estimated 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers, according to the National Safety Council.

Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires, the NSC reports.

Thus, those planning to spark a firework to light up the New Year are reminded to be aware of state and local laws and ordinances regarding fireworks.

For instance, fireworks are prohibited in the city limits of Sulphur Springs and most municipalities without a permit. Fireworks are also restricted from public waterways such as city and state parks and lakes, unless otherwise denoted. However, there are no restrictions on use of fireworks in other unincorporated areas of the county.

When in doubt, be sure to check with the local city or other government regarding fireworks regulations. Failure to do so could result in a citation.

When setting off fireworks or hosting a fireworks display, a few safety precautions are recommended for legal fireworks.

The NSC recommends the following for individuals using fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light them indoors.
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
  • Never use illegal fireworks.

Author: Faith Huffman

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