Even ‘safe and sane’ fireworks need some common sense

Don’t be misled by so-called “safe and sane” fireworks on this holiday, or any other.

These sparklers can still blind and burn skin. They can ignite housefires and wildfires. They can kill or maim pets. The “safe and sane” designation assumes another very important ingredient: common sense.

So if your celebrations of our nation’s birthday include sparklers of several types, please:

Observe local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

Use only fireworks approved by the state fire marshal.

Use common sense, and always read and follow the directions on each firework before using it.

Have a responsible adult present whenever fireworks are used.

Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.

Only use fireworks outdoors away from homes, dry grass or trees. Never use fireworks in an enclosed area.

Light only one item at a time and keep a safe distance.

Never experiment with or alter a firework.

Never carry fireworks in your pockets.

Put used fireworks in a bucket of water, and have a garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby to extinguish flames if necessary.

What is an illegal firework?

A good rule of thumb, according to fire officials, is if it goes up in the air, darts across the ground or explodes, it’s dangerous and illegal.

Some examples include:

  • Cherry bombs
  • M-80s and M-100s
  • Firecrackers
  • Bottle rockets
  • Roman candles
  • Aerial shells and mortars

Every year dangerous and illegal items such as cherry bombs, M-80s and firecrackers cause numerous injuries to adults and children. Items such as bottle rockets cause thousands of dollars in property damage each year as well. Parents may be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by their children’s use of illegal fireworks.

Possession and/or use of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 and/or by imprisonment in the local jail for up to one year. Possession of illegal fireworks that collectively contain in excess of 7,500 grains of powder (approximately 1 pound) is a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or local jail for up to one year and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

The most important thing parents can do for their children is to set a good example. To be safe, be sane.

One more thing: If you drink alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel of a car or truck. Common sense, right?

Fireworks and drunk driving will kill and injure thousands across the US in the next week. Do your best to avoid being one of those statistics.

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