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Officials urge fireworks safety

July 1, 2014

BY JOSH PRESLEY
news@dailytimesleader.com

With the July 4 holiday coming up, many residents will be barbecuing, boating and shooting off fireworks. Local officials urge citizens to take proper care during the holiday, and be as safe as possible while enjoying themselves.
West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said that it’s unlawful to shoot firecrackers in the city limits. He said the West Point Police Department will be responding to calls about fireworks in the city and will be issuing citations to residents violating the law.
“We encourage kids to go outside the city limits to shoot fireworks,” Brinkley said. “In addition to being illegal in the city limits, it’s also a fire hazard, and any damage caused by fireworks will be the responsibility of the person shooting them.”
West Point Fire Inspector Ted Judson said that while shooting fireworks is illegal inside the city limits, he knows residents will do it anyway. He said citizens handling fireworks should do so with proper precautions to avoid injury and property damage.
“The biggest problem is people not using fireworks the correct way,” Judson said. “You don’t hold a Roman Candle in your hand and you don’t have bottle rocket fights.”
The National Fire Safety Council had the following tips for correctly handling fireworks:
n Only purchase from reliable, licensed dealers;
n store fireworks in a cool, dry place and never carry them in your pocket;
n never make your own fireworks;
n never smoke while handling fireworks, or handle them under the influence of alcohol;
n never look into a tube to see if a firework is lit;
n light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly;
n never re-light, alter or fix a “dud;”
n keep a working fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of water nearby; and
n don’t run with fireworks, use them as weapons or aim or point them at other people, property, pets or cars.

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