Get informed, know surroundings, be safe with fireworks
As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, emergency personnel offer tips for a safe and successful holiday.
Each year, the night sky fills with fireworks, offering excitement and enjoyment for spectators, however, with the entertainment, safety is a priority.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more fires reported on July 4 than any other day, and fireworks account for two fires for every five reported.
In 2011 alone, 17,800 fires were started by fireworks, resulting in 40 injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. There were 9,600 fireworks-related injuries treated in U.S. hospitals.
Some tips to help prevent firework-related accidents or injuries include allowing only adults to light fireworks while wearing eye protection, not having any part of the body over the fireworks, purchase them from reliable sellers and only light them outdoors.
"Do not allow children to be unattended around fireworks and use caution," Andrew DiGiorgio, director of the Ironwood Public Safety Department, said. "Also, be respectful of neighbors while lighting off fireworks in the evening."
Other tips include making sure other people are out of range while lighting them off, having water handy and lighting fireworks on a smooth, flat surface, away from buildings, dry leaves and flammable materials.
Light one at a time, and don't throw or point fireworks at people or animals. Pets should be kept indoors to reduce the risk of tinjuries.
In Wisconsin, legal fireworks, not requiring a permit, include sparklers not exceeding 36 inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noise-makers, confetti poppers with less than 1/4 grain of explosive mixture and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground.
Possessing or using any other fireworks, such as firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets or mortars, is illegal in Wisconsin without a valid permit.
In Michigan, ground-based devices, including hand-held sparklers or novelty fireworks like snakes, party poppers and snaps, are legal. Other fireworks, like Roman candles, bottle rockets or firecrackers are illegal without permits.
For more information, or to learn more about fireworks, visit michigan.gov/bfs or doj.state.wi.us/sites/default/files/2013-news/2012-fireworks-advisory-current-20130620.pdf.