Officials urge fireworks caution

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2016


Shooting fireworks within the city of Andalusia is illegal, but those who live outside the city limits are encouraged to use safety.

For those planning to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with cookouts and fireworks, local agencies from the local fire departments to the Alabama Forestry Commission urges precautions.

Andalusia Fire Chief Russell McGlamory 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,” he said. “When it’s dry, the sparks from the paper shreds can cause fires.”

Acting State Forester Dan Jackson encourages people to be cautious.

“We certainly want folks to enjoy their Fourth of July holiday, but we ask that they use caution with outdoor fires such as grills, campfires and fireworks,” he said. “Wildfires do not discriminate; they do not stop at property boundaries. They can quickly spread out of control, threatening not only forestland, but lives and property as well.”

Opp Fire Chief Cory Spurlin said that fireworks are legal in Opp, but they are also dangerous.

“What we do is we allow everything that is approved to sell through the state fire marshal’s office,” Spurlin said. “We don’t have any kind of ordinance against them, but if there’s a problem, we don’t want people to hesitate to call us.”

Officials gave the following recommendations.

• Avoid shooting fireworks in or near dry grass, leaves or other combustible materials. Thoroughly soak the area with water where fireworks are to be discharged, and have a garden hose or other source of water nearby.

• Use fireworks outside only.

• Obey local laws. Don’t use them, where it’s not legal.

• Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t 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 then shooter should wear safety glasses or some other form of eye protection.

• Alcohol and fireworks do no mix. Do not attempt to shoot fireworks if you are not sober, regardless of 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.