Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Mourad releases tips for fireworks safety

Minden's fire department and all rural departments are urging the public to play it safe while celebrating the New Year.

Beginning now, fireworks may be discharged within Minden's city limits until 10 p.m. except on December 31 and January 1 when time is extended until midnight.

Minden Fire Chief Kip Mourad encourages people to use care when handling and firing the holiday noise-makers.

"Make sure adults are with children and supervising the lighting of fireworks," Mourad said. "People should also be aware of their surroundings — make sure no fires have ignited nearby due to the fireworks."

If a fire ignites, call 9-1-1.

"Even though we've had a dry year, recent rain has helped a lot," Mourad said. "I don't expect any problems from drought."

Fireworks can also cause injuries — from burns to shrapnel in the eyes and lacerations, as well as severe property damage.

Everyone should follow these simple rules of safety when discharging fireworks:

Always purchase fireworks from a reputable retail outlet.

Young children should never be given fireworks to handle alone. Responsible adult supervision is a must.

Read and follow all warnings and instructions.

Use a "punk" to ignite fireworks. Never use an open flame, such as a cigarette lighter or match.

Never shoot, aim or throw fireworks at people or animals.

Keep a garden hose or bucket of water handy for emergencies.

Never try to re-ignite fireworks that have malfunctioned. Douse with water and wait 15 minutes before properly disposing.

Be aware of dry conditions. Use common sense. Never ignite fireworks on or near dry vegetation. Doing so could spark fires.

Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings and flammable materials.

Wear safety glasses, long sleeved shirts and long pants when shooting fireworks. Do not wear loose fitting or dangling clothing that can easily catch fire. Hardhats are good protection when shooting aerial items with lots of fallout.

Do not drink alcohol while using fireworks or allow anyone who has been drinking to light any fireworks.

Always keep spectators a safe distance away — at least 35 feet for ground items and at least 100 feet for aerial and exploding items. For novelties that move on the ground, always be alert and aim them away from spectators.

Never place any part of your body (especially your head) over the firework when lighting. Approach the item from the side and light while keeping your body away from the item.

Before lighting an item, make sure it is sturdy and level. Do not place items on uneven surfaces or grass.

Do not put devices into metal or glass containers and light them. The resulting explosion can spray shrapnel on spectators.

Do not carry fireworks in your pockets. If one happens to ignite, severe burns may result.

Dispose of fireworks only after you are sure they are completely out. If needed, spray them down with a hose or allow them to cool overnight.

Here are some safety tips dealing with specific fireworks items:

ROCKETS — Always use some type of well-supported tube to fire from. Angle tubes slightly, straight up in the safest direction away from spectators.

AERIAL SPINNERS — These need a hard, flat surface free from debris to function properly. It is recommended to have a clear shooting area of at least four feet by four feet.

ROMAN CANDLES — It is best to partially bury these in sand or a bucket filled with sand. Make sure they are secure before lighting. Never hold them in your hand because they can backfire and cause injuries.

SPARKLERS — Be very careful when using in crowded situations. Allow for plenty of room between people and keep a close eye on children when they are using them. Sparklers burn up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Spent metal sparklers remain very hot after use and should be put in a pail of water to cool. Dispose of them properly.






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