Officials remind to use fireworks safely this 4th of July

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says over 11,000 people were hurt by fireworks in 2016

Downtown fireworks. Dec. 31, 2015
Fireworks explode over downtown Youngstown during First Night Youngstown. Dec. 31, 2015

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Consumer Product Safety Commission says over 11,000 people were hurt by fireworks in 2016. The Vice President of Phantoms Fireworks says the use of fireworks is up in the country, but injuries are down.

That’s because people know how to properly use them.

Robert Perkins from Geneva has been putting on a show for the last five years, and he knows keeping his audience safe is key.

“We’re laying down metal plates, we have fire extinguishers off to the side and we have some buckets of water,” Perkins said. “Then we’re using really long lighters and hopefully running really fast.”

Fireworks are a tradition during the 4th of July — but these products are explosives and can injure someone.

A police chief from north of Pittsburgh lost part of his arm last week during a carnival. And a Boston teenage seriously injured his hand while lighting a firework Saturday.

“First of all, you’ve got to respect the fact that these products burn,” said William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks. “So, children should not touch the products. The products should be handled and ignited by a sober adult.”

Weimer says you should stand 30 feet away from a ground-based product — 150 feet away from something shot in the air.

Fireworks should be lit on a hard, flat surface. Also, placing bricks by aerial shooters is a good idea.

“One brick facing the audience, the other away from the audience,” Weimer said. “So if it does tip over, it tips over sideways and doesn’t shoot at the audience.”

When you’re done, Weimer suggests dousing the fireworks in water, then leaving them outside all night. The next morning, you can throw them away in a metal container.

Weimer says if you light a firework and it doesn’t go off — don’t light it again. Just pour water on it. You can return the product and get a refund.


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