July 3, 2014

OUR VIEW: Fireworks not to be trifled with


---- — There are 200 injuries daily because of the use of fireworks in the month of July, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Every day. Two hundred injuries. That’s 6,000 injuries in one month.

We can almost hear you saying, “Oh, but that’s only because of the crazy people who make their own fireworks and buy the big, outlandish fireworks.”

To that we say, there were an estimated 600 emergency room visits associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets.

And, might we add, another 400 of those visits were from small firecrackers.

Yes, that leaves a large number for the those playing with and making illegal fireworks, but no one is immune from the dangers of fireworks — big or small, legal or illegal.

So, if you’re going to be purchasing and using fireworks, please be safe because your health is of utmost importance.

Here’s how to play with fireworks safely:

• Never let children handle, play with, or light any fireworks.

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.

• Always purchase your fireworks from reliable, licensed fireworks dealers.

• Use a clear, open area. Keep audience a safe distance away from the shooting site.

• Safety glasses are recommended for those individuals lighting fireworks or those in close proximity to the fireworks.

• Do not alter any fireworks device or make your own fireworks.

• Only light one firework item at a time.

• Never attempt to re-light, alter, or fix any “dud” firework item.

• Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose, or bucket of water nearby.

• Never smoke when handling fireworks.

And secondly, be careful because there are laws surrounding the use of fireworks.

Here’s some of the laws you should be aware of, according to the Indiana State Police:

• Only individuals over the age of 18 may purchase fireworks.

• A person 18 years of age or older must be present when anyone younger than 18 is using or possessing fireworks.

• Fireworks may be used only on the user’s property, the property of someone who granted permission for fireworks to be discharged, or a place designated by the Indiana State Fire Marshal for the discharge of consumer fireworks.

• Fireworks may be discharged only between the hours of 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. any day except on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve when the times are 9 a.m. to midnight. It is important to check with local officials, as local ordinances may restrict the use of fireworks.

• A person who violates this law can be charged with a class C infraction. If a person recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally uses fireworks and the violation causes property damage, they can be charged with a class A misdemeanor. If there is bodily injury it is enhanced to a class D felony, and if there is death a class C felony.

It’s the Fourth of July and we’re celebrating our freedom, so by all means have a heyday with all the fireworks you care to spend your money on. But, please, be careful about it. We want you to still be around come Labor Day.

THE ISSUE Fireworks safety OUR VIEW No one is immune from the dangers of fireworks -- big or small, legal or illegal.