Independence Day weekend is a time for parades, barbecues and fireworks — or more importantly — firework safety.
Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Bureau of Fire Services issued warnings on using fireworks for the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations.
The statement mentioned the increase of fireworks-related injuries and the necessary precautions many people fail to follow.
“Anything that leaves the ground and explodes is illegal in Michigan,” said A.J. Bray, detective sergeant and bomb technician of the Michigan State Police.
He said the tiny explosive powders fireworks are made of are what makes them so dangerous. That and people’s lack of knowledge of how to properly use them.
“An incident just happened last week in Detroit with a little girl,” Bray said. The 5-year-old girl Bray mentioned was hospitalized for serious burns after a sparkler caught her dress on fire.
Bray said many injuries happen with children, who sometimes hold firecrackers in their hands. “The fuse may burn faster than they expect,” he said. “You can lose fingers.”
The Bureau of Fire Services' warning list included these safety tips:
- Only adults should ignite any type of Michigan-legal fireworks.
- Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances.
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions on the fireworks label.
- Only light fireworks outdoors on a flat, smooth surface at least 15 feet away from houses and highly flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
- Wear eye protection when handling fireworks and never carry the explosives in your pocket.
- Have a garden hose, bucket of water and wet towels ready to use immediately in case of a malfunction or fire.
- During and after the celebration, wet down all fireworks debris.
- Never: set fireworks off in a container, throw or point them at people; re-light fireworks that initially fail to ignite; or use any type of fireworks indoors.
Bray said there are many damages and injuries related to misuse of fireworks.
“There are fires caused from fireworks,” he said. “People think they’ve gone away but remnants and pieces that fall of … can catch on fire … possibly burning down a house.”
State Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr said in the bureau’s statement that it’s best to keep fireworks away from homes and instead enjoy professional displays for the holidays.