14 Fireworks Safety Tips

GRFD & GRPD urge users to be aware of fireworks regulations and safety tips
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GRFD: Never light a firework while holding it in your hand!

Since the passing of the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act, PA 256 of 2011, a growing number of residents are choosing to light consumer grade fireworks as part of their annual holiday celebrations at home.

According to Fire Marshal Ric Dokter of the GRFD Fire Prevention Division, fireworks hurt hundreds of people every year – many of them children. For everyone’s safety, the Grand Rapids Fire Department and Grand Rapids Police Department urge users to be aware of fireworks regulations and safety tips before lighting up the sky.

“Our goal every year is to promote fireworks safety to ensure that not a single family in Grand Rapids suffers the pain and sorrow of a fireworks injury,” he said. “The best way to avoid a fireworks accident is to leave fireworks to the professionals.”

The City of Grand Rapids’ fireworks ordinance, limiting the use of them within Grand Rapids, reflects state law governing the use of consumer-grade fireworks. A civil fine of $1,000 for each violation of the fireworks ordinance can be issued if people do not follow the ordinance, which also sets the times and dates when fireworks may be set off throughout the year. This year, those dates and times for the Independence Day celebrations are from June 29 to July 4 between the hours of  11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.

Furthermore, the Fireworks Safety Act states: “It is illegal to ignite fireworks on public property (including streets and sidewalks), school property, church property, or another person’s property without their express permission. State law makes it illegal to discharge fireworks when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.”

To reduce fireworks accidents, Fire Marshal Dokter offers these important fireworks safety tips:

1. Read and follow all warnings and instructions contained on the package.
2. Never allow children to play with or ignite any fireworks. Sparklers, although considered by many the ideal “safe” firework for the young, burn at extremely high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Many children do not understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
3. Keep a bucket of water, or garden hose handy in case of a malfunction or fire.
4. Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
5. Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials. Never light a firework while holding it in your hand!
6. Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. “DUDS” can re-ignite and injure you. If you must move them, consider scooping them up with a shovel, and dropping them into a bucket of water to extinguish. Throw them away after they are extinguished.
7. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
8.  Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
9. Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
10. Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
11. Never mix fireworks and alcohol!
12. Observe local laws.
13. State law prohibits igniting fireworks on a public street, public sidewalk, park, church, school or public rights of way.
14. Before retiring for the evening, make sure that your yard, shrubbery, trees and your home are free of any unwanted burning. Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home.

“Our goal every year is to promote fireworks safety to ensure that not a single family in Grand Rapids suffers the pain and sorrow of a fireworks injury,” he said. “The best way to avoid a fireworks accident is to leave fireworks to the professionals.”

The Grand Rapids Fireworks, presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort will light up the Grand Rapids skies at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 1 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids in celebration of Independence Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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