Officials stress fireworks safety

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 1, 2010

If Covington County residents decide to use fireworks to show their patriotism this July 4th, officials stress it’s important to use safety and common sense with any pyrotechnic devices.

“These things just get more powerful and sophisticated every year,” Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said. “We just encourage any adults to act like adults and be aware of the situation. Don’t let kids use anything that’s not safe, and use fireworks the way they are intended. We don’t want to see anyone get an eye shot out, or a finger blown off.”

Williams also pointed out it is illegal to use fireworks within the city limits of Andalusia, and that APD officers will be enforcing these laws during the holiday weekend.

“It doesn’t take too many complaints for us to send out an officer to investigate a situation,” he said.

“It is illegal within the city, and we will make arrests, if necessary.”

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers several tips to make sure a July 4th 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.