As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Waxahachie city officials urge residents of both the city and the surrounding areas to be aware about fireworks.

Within the city limits of Waxahachie, fireworks “are totally illegal,” Assistant Fire Chief Randall Potter said.

The fireworks ban, which includes the possession and discharge of the devices, has been in place for some time, though the possession clause is relatively newer, having come about in the late 1990s.

“Legally, you cannot even possess them within the city limits,” Potter said. “It’s not just discharging, it’s possessing.”

The penalty for the possession and/or discharge of fireworks within the city of Waxahachie is a fine up to $500.

The Waxahachie Police Department and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office will have additional units on the streets, sheriff’s Capt. Dennis Brearley and WPD community services officer Wess Winn said.

In the state of Texas, it is also illegal to discharge fireworks on or across a public roadway, an action punishable by a fine of up to $500.

For those who will be setting off fireworks legally outside city limits, Potter has a few guidelines for revelers to follow.

“Have permission from whoever’s property you are on,” Potter said, noting that while fireworks should only be discharged on private property, trespassing laws still apply.

Potter also urges adults to never let children handle fireworks.

“They are an explosive device, they are dangerous and people are injured every year by them,” Potter said, recommending that people read and follow the instructions printed on the fireworks’ packaging and some common-sense tips.

First among these is that individuals under the influence of alcohol should not discharge fireworks, Potter said.

Second, fireworks should never be held after they are ignited, he said, adding that the consequences can range from burns to losing fingers and hands.

Waxahachie Fire Marshal Dennis Crecelius said people should always have a water source or fire extinguisher nearby while discharging fireworks and should not wear loose-fitting clothing.

If a device fails to detonate, no one should approach the device for at least five minutes, after which time the dud should be fully immersed in water as safely as possible, Crecelius said, adding that one should never stand over a device while investigating a potential dud.

If windy conditions exist, aerial fireworks should not be discharged, Crecelius said, adding that spectators - particularly children - should maintain a safe distance from an ignitition site.

“A lot of fireworks-related incidents could be avoided if people just use a little common sense, obey the law and follow the instructions,” Crecelius said.

E-mail Anthony at anthony.trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com