Officials stress fireworks safety

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

While fireworks may provide a moment of fun, their misuse can be a mistake that lasts a lifetime.

“These things can cause dramatic injuries,” Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said. “Anything from fingers being blown off, to eyes injures, to hands disfigures. These are not toys, and it’s serious business anytime you use something as dangerous as fireworks.”

In addition, it is illegal to set off fireworks inside the city limits of Andalusia.

“It can lead to arrests, in the most severe of cases,” Williams said. “There is a municipal ordinance in place that prohibits their use anywhere in the city limits.”

While fireworks are perfectly legal outside of the city limits, Williams exercised caution when setting off fireworks anywhere in a heavily populated area.

“A misdirected rocket can explode and cause damage to a house or vehicle,” he said. “Responsible adults should be very careful when using fireworks.”

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers several tips to make sure a New Year’s celebration does not end up with a trip to the hospital, or worse.

Use fireworks outdoors only.

Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

Always have water handy — either a hose or buckets of water.

Only use fireworks as intended. Do not try to alter them or combine them.

Never attempt to re-light a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

Use common sense when using fireworks. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter, and the shooter should wear safety glasses or some other form of eye protection.

Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Do not attempt to shoot fireworks if you are not sober, regardless of your age.

Only persons over 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers.

Never use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives; they are deadly. Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department.