Safely Lighting Up the New Year - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/31/03

Safely Lighting Up the New Year

They're colorful, loud and potentially very dangerous. Last year in the U.S. 8,800 people were treated for firework related injuries, and if you don't want to become a statistic this New Year's Eve, Lubbock Fire officials say, keep safety first.

"If you have enough people doing fireworks then you start having grass fires, property damage. While we do see injuries usually you have unsupervised children and typically some kind of drinking," says Assistant Lubbock Fire Marshall, Marlin Hamilton

Other fireworks safety advice:

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from houses and flammable materials.
  • Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Keep a bucket of water around in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. And don't forget keep your pets away from the celebration.

"Use of alcoholic beverages and then the use of fireworks and that's the arena where you get most of your opportunity for damage to property and the risk of injuries," says Hamilton.

Even fireworks stand operators like Jerry Welch remind their customers to take precautions. "We tell them be careful, go slow, have a good time and don't get hurt," says Welch.

You have until midnight to purchase fireworks, but remember, fireworks are illegal within the city limits. If you are caught with fireworks in the city, you could get a fine in excess of $1,000 dollars. And if you use fireworks out in the county, please make sure you clean up your mess.

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