MARQUETTE — With Independence Day coming up this weekend, many people are stocking up on fireworks. Those preparing should understand all potential risks and responsibilities.
For many, fireworks are one of the biggest highlights of the 4th of July celebration. After Governor Rick Snyder signed the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act a few years ago, the popularity has only soared higher. But before you light the wick for your own fireworks of any size, be sure to use all necessary precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe.
“The main thing you want to remember when setting off fireworks is that they should only be handled by adults, not kids,” said Marquette City Fire Department Inspector Ian Davis, “sparklers cause about 30% of all the injuries from fireworks because they can reach upwards of 1,200 degrees. When you do set off fireworks it’s a good idea to have water available in case you do start a fire. There are normally 18,000 fires a year set in the United States because of fireworks.”
Many of those fires can be easily prevented with proper care. The folks that sell fireworks know about the carefully crafted chemical reactions very well and are more than willing to help customers learn about what fireworks are best for them and how to handle them.
“We talk about the safety of it, a lot of people come in with questions and we’ll talk to them about it,” said Spread Eagle Fireworks Salesman Pete Weaver, “like what the best way to do it is and just give them good suggestions. Of course, we’re reliant on their common sense as well.”
There are two main types of fireworks in Michigan. Low impact fireworks include sparklers, fountains, and smoke devices. The other type is called consumer grade which include roman candles, bottle rockets, and fire crackers.
“The low impact will have a caution statement on it, where as the consumer grade will have a warning statement on the firework,” added Davis, “with consumer grade fireworks you can shoot those off the day before, the day of, and the day after a federal holiday.”
Once you feel that you hold the proper knowledge needed, make sure to have a bucket of water near by, a sober mind and light your fireworks in a permitted area.
“In Marquette a lot of the houses are close together,” said Marquette City Police Sergeant Ryan Grim, “so we ask people to use common sense and to be courteous to their neighbors when it comes to fireworks.”
“You can shoot fireworks off from private property,” added Davis, “you cannot shoot them off from public property, churches, schools, or anyone else’s private property unless you have expressed permission.”
Fireworks can be a great way to celebrate America’s independence, and are even better when properly handled.