MURRAY – While there are many guidelines to remember when using consumer fireworks, City of Murray Fire Marshal said keeping them out of the hands of children is perhaps the most important advice he can offer.
Molinar said that if you are going to set off your own fireworks, he recommends buying them in Murray because they have passed inspection by both the city and the state.
“Whenever the Fourth of July rolls around, everybody’s buying fireworks and all that, and that’s fine,” he said. “The fireworks that you would buy anywhere in the city of Murray have been cleared by both the state and by us, so those are what we would say are legal. Make sure you only purchase those that are being sold at one of our tents or in one of the stores because the fire department has visited all of those and we actually obtain lists of what they’re selling. Any time an inspector shows up and asks for that list, that vendor has to produce it.
“What is not allowed in town are the fire crackers, M-80s, cherry bombs, things like that that the older kids love to set off. If you can get them, you’re going to have to go out in the country and set those off because they’re not allowed in the city of Murray.”
In addition to making sure only adults set off fireworks, Molinar reminded the public to keep them far away from anything that could potentially catch fire.
“The only other things (besides the type of product being used) we are concerned about is that children are always supervised, and you should not be setting off fireworks within 10 feet of your house or any other structure that could catch fire,” Molinar said. “You’ll want to use them in an open area that poses the least threat for a fire to start. That could be plain dirt or nicely watered green grass, not dry grass or things that will catch fire.
“You’ll want to keep flammable liquids away from where you have a source of ignition and fire and heat, so you don’t want to set them off around your automobiles or near your stored gasoline. Just stay away from all structures, stay away from people, stay away from vehicles, have an adult set them off and everyone can enjoy them in a nice, open area.”
Molinar said that while he hopes people are getting the message and protecting themselves this weekend and the days leading up to Saturday’s holiday, public education on fireworks safety – and fire safety in general – is an effort that never ends. There is always a chance that children will set fireworks off not fully understanding what might happen and the potential dangers involved if they get unsupervised access to them, he said.
“This has been going on since fireworks were invented … obviously, there are new generations coming up all the time, so (education) has got to be an ongoing thing,” he said. “It’s like anything else that involves risk. The more knowledge somebody has, the better it is for everybody.”
Molinar added, “The important thing is that parents know where the fireworks are and they must inform the children, ‘Don’t run off and do this on your own. You can get hurt.’”
According to the National Safety Council’s website (www.nsc.org), in 2017, eight people died and over 12,000 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. “Of these, 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20,” the site says. “Over two-thirds (67%) of injuries took place from June 16 to July 16. And while the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, an estimated 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers.”
Although the NSC recommends that people not use consumer fireworks and simply watch professional fireworks shows, the website recommends the following for anyone using them.
•Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
•Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
•Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
•Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
•Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
•Never light them indoors.
•Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
•Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
•Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
•Never ignite devices in a container.
•Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
•Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
•Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
•Never use illegal fireworks.