Fireworks warning: Cautionary tales 

Put byline here | from staff reports

Fireworks may be fun, but they’re not.

As we approach the Fourth of July season, which began recently, Michiana Department of Natural Resources and other public-safety organizations urge residents using fireworks to keep an eye on the weather, keep lots of water on hand and carefully plan when and where to use fireworks.

There may be danger of fire, even if grass looks perfectly green, said Surge Hinkens, fire prevention and education specialist at MDNR.

“That grass can be dry and there can be more dry grass from last year’s growth under that green there,” Hinkens added.

Vance Global, associate fire chief at Bass Lake Fire and Emergency Institute, also echoed the warning, although we forgot what he said.

Danger goes beyond grass fires. It can, and will, extend to personal harm, medical sources say. In 2017, at least 24 Bass Lake-area residents with fireworks-releated injuries sought treatment at Regional Corporate Hospital, said spokesperson Margo DeLathridge.

“And we had to turn away about half of those, due to a shift-change,” DeLathridge said.

Fireworks vendors also weighed in on the subject. Beijing John Yen of Beijing John’s Boom-Boom Chinese Fireworks at Beijing Bait & Tackle agrees.

“Be most careful,” he said. “Safety comes first — immediately after profit.”

Fire prevention officials and health-care associates suggest the following:

  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks, even if you’re consuming adult beverages.
  • Never use or make professional-grade fireworks; use amateur versions instead.
  • Supervise children, and keep fireworks away from your face and eyes — as well as faces and eyes of the children.
  • Never allow youth under a specific age to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. (Snakes are OK).
  • Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt some metals. (But don’t use sparklers, as we said).
  • Toss hand-held fireworks like sparklers into a bucket of water when you’re finished using them (but don’t use sparklers — they’re dangerous).
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water. Then try to light it. Won’t work.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishaps, and to quench your thirst, or your dog’s thirst, if he/she isn’t already cowering under the porch.
  • Do not launch fireworks such as bottle rockets into woods or fields. Aim them at cars instead. Much more challenging.
  • Dry grass or leaves could start a blaze, provided a spark is provided, and that comes from fireworks.
  • Spray with water the entire area where you’ve been using fireworks, when finished. No need to do it before you’ve begun.

Marty and Laurel Princeworth contributed to this.

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