Fireworks are a tradition with high risk, even more so during drought – Daily Bulletin

By Michael J. Smith | San Manuel Band of Mission Indians fire chief

Celebrating our nation’s independence has its share of traditions, and the most popular is the enjoyment of fireworks.

But this year’s Fourth of July comes with severe drought and sweltering heat, meaning it’s a tradition with high risks. Firefighters and first responders will be on high alert not only for fires, but the emergency calls that cut family celebrations short due to pain and loss. that can come from fireworks.

The alternative is handling devices that involve highly flammable chemical agents that cause some 12,000 people every year to spend their holiday in a hospital emergency room.

Any fireworks that either explode or go up in the air are illegal except when used by licensed operators, meaning those that put on professional firework displays. This includes firecrackers, bottle rockets, aerial shells, mortars and sparklers more than 10 inches in length. Penalties for using these dangerous fireworks can be up to $ 10,000 or a year in prison.

Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires.

Legal fireworks, often called “safe and sane” fireworks, are those sold from permitted stands between June 28 and July 6, and only to people who are at least 18 years old. These include ground and handheld sparklers, cylindrical and cone fountains, wheel and ground spinners, and toy smoking devices.

But here’s the thing: safe and sane fireworks may be purchased and used ONLY if permitted by local fire codes; and most cities in the Inland Empire prohibit the sale or use of safe and sane fireworks. make sure you know whether they are even legal in your city.

But if you do choose to use fireworks at home, here are some tips and reminders from the San Manuel Fire Department to enjoy the holiday safely.

• Never allow young children to play with or light fireworks. • Only light fireworks one at a time and move back quickly once they are lit. • Do not allow any running or horseplay around lit fireworks. • Never point or throw fireworks at another person • Never try to re-light or pick-up fireworks that are “duds.” • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of an emergency. • After fireworks have ignited, douse them with water before putting them in the trash.

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