For many, ringing in the New Year is celebrated with fireworks.
While this holiday is a joyous occasion, area fire officials are reminding residents that safety must be factored in when using fireworks — as well as the law.
“People need to be aware that fireworks are illegal inside the city,” Waxahachie Fire Department Fire Marshal Dennis Crecelius said. “There is an ordinance on the city books that states you can’t discharge fireworks or even possess them inside the city limits.”
Crecelius said that if people are going to be setting fireworks off outside the city limits, they need to make sure there is parental supervision on site to ensure safety. Adults should always be the only one to handle fireworks and they need to be kept out of the reach of children. Residents need to watch where they set off fireworks and keep them away from structures such as barns, sheds or houses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005, an estimated 10,800 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. The CDC advises people to practice safety when using fireworks and use them without altering them. Avoid using homemade fireworks because they can have powder from three or four fireworks placed inside them. This creates a dangerous situation and an unpredictable outcome.
Residents using fireworks should keep plenty of water on site. Fireworks that don’t go off should not be relit but instead, after about 20 minutes, should be soaked in a bucket of water.
When shooting off fireworks, never mix alcohol with the activity because alcohol acts as a depressant and can impair judgment.
Other precautions include setting off fireworks in a place where the grass is cut low or where the ground is plowed to reduce the possibility of a grass fire.
Assistant Fire Chief Randall Potter said he does not recommend the use of fireworks by individuals, but notes they legally can be fired off in the county with the stipulation that a person has to have the permission of the property owner beforehand. If a resident is caught discharging fireworks within the city limits the fireworks will be confiscated and there is a possibility that a fine will be issued on the first offense.
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