NEWBERRY — Newberry County Fire Chief Keith Minick encourages residents to be safe if they choose to shoot fireworks themselves instead of going to a professional display on July 4.
“Sparklers are a big thing that people love and our concern is for small children if sparks hit loose fitting clothing or hair and cause burns,” he said.
Minick said people should not discharge bottle rockets close to anything flammable and should have a bucket of water nearby just in case.
“There are concerns in our rural areas, especially, in areas such as hay fields that could catch fire from (an errant bottle rocket or firework) and this year lack of rain is a concern,” Minick said.
He said in the past there have been reports of bottlerockets going through people’s windows in their homes or becoming lodged beneath mobile homes and starting fires.
Minick recommends the public follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use proper lighting techniques with long fuses and lighter torches instead of cigarette lighters.
“Do not hold fireworks in your hands or lean over the (launch area) and please be sure to launch fireworks from a smooth, solid, level surface so they do not tip over and wind up pointing toward bystanders. And treat all dud fireworks as if they are live. We hope everyone has a fire safe Fourth of July,” he said.
The City of Newberry Fire Department will be on hand at the high school celebration as a safety precaution as well.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following firework safety tips:
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.
• Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
• Make sure everyone knows to stop, drop and roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.