Authorities urge caution when dealing with fireworks

Nick Shepherd • Jul 2, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Celebrating the Fourth of July comes with a few traditions, cookouts, family and fireworks. The latter is the most popular and the most dangerous.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more fires are reported on Independence Day than any other day of the year, and two out of every five fires on that day are caused by fireworks.

During 2011, fireworks were responsible for an estimated 17,800 fires, causing an estimated total of $32 million in property damage, eight deaths and 40 injuries.

In the city of Kingsport, it is illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase, possess or use fireworks, according to Tom Patton, public information officer for the Kingsport Police Department.

It is important to check with local police or fire departments regarding laws pertaining to fireworks in the county in which you live.

A 2007 state law prevents children under 16 from buying fireworks and children between 16 and 17 must present identification to purchase fireworks, according to a press release from the Tennessee state fire marshal’s office.

If fireworks are legal to set off where you live, here are some safety tips:

•Never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks.

•Read and follow all warnings and instructions.

•Wear eye protection.

•Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.

•Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

•Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, dry leaves and flammable material.

•Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.

•Keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.

•Sparklers are not toys and cause hundreds of injuries every year. Sparklers can burn as hot as 1,200 degrees.

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