Fireworks stands open late for New Year’s festivities

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Shooting fireworks within the Andalusia city limits is illegal and local officials urge safety.

Andalusia Fire Department Captain Russell McGlamory said he recommends residents visit the fireworks display in the city instead.

“Fires can be caused by the small sparks from bottle rockets and other types of fireworks,” McGlamory said. “When it’s dry, which it’s not, the sparks from the paper shreds can cause fires.”

He said the AFD will be at the fireworks show in the city to keep everything safe, and to make sure no small sparks cause damage from the display.

Not only is there a danger with sparking a fire, handling the products is dangerous.

“More people get hurt when engaging in the firing of the fireworks than with fires themselves,” Hopewell Volunteer Fire Chief Shannon Kelley said. “My main concern is firing.”

He said if people are going to shoot fireworks, they need to read the directions carefully.

“You need to know your fireworks,” Kelley said. “You need to know what kind they are, what they’re supposed to do when they fire and know what to do with a dud.”

Co-owner of Powderkeg Fireworks Michael Page said they handpick fireworks for people and demonstrate what the fireworks are supposed to do.

“We pick the best possible thing for our customers,” Page said. “We check videos of the product, and will show customers exactly what they’re buying.”

Kelley said he highly recommends not drinking and shooting fireworks.

“Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix,” Kelley said. “It you’re drinking, you don’t need to be handling fireworks.”

Other suggestions on firework safety include:

• making sure fireworks are legal in your area;

• buying only from a licensed dealer. Make sure they are legal consumer fireworks labeled with the manufacturer’s name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled;

• taking caution of unmarked fireworks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has great information about spotting illegal explosives;

• never trying to make your own fireworks;

• storing fireworks in a cool, dry place. Excessive heat and moisture can ruin them;

• not carrying them in your pocket; they could ignite from the friction;

• having a bucket of water ready in case of a fire. Use it to douse fireworks after they are spent. A garden hose or fire extinguisher may also come handy in case of a fire or other mishap;

• keeping a first aid kit nearby. Use it for treatment of minor burns. Wear proper clothing. Eye and ear protection, cotton or denim clothing, long pants, and covered shoes are recommended;

• never letting children play with fireworks. Make sure children keep sparklers outside and away from the face, clothing and hair. Even sparklers can be very dangerous because they can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Supervise closely;

• making sure kids are a safe distance away and that they don’t pick up any pieces of used fireworks, which may be hot or still ignited and could explode at any time;

• steering clear of others – fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction; and

• point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances.