Fireworks on for 4th festivities

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; City officials have decided against bans on the sale or use of fireworks for this year&8217;s Fourth of July season despite recent drought conditions.

This decision comes after State Forester Linda Casey and Alabama Fire Marshal Ed Paulk eased some of the prior restrictions on fireworks for 33 of Alabama&8217;s counties last week. Although both agencies are monitoring potential problems due to the drought, they have allowed the sale and use of ground level fireworks such as basic firecrackers, sparklers and poppers.

The state has banned bottlerockets and similar type fireworks that are propelled through the air.

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The Forestry Commission also said municipal displays would be allowed if the municipality gained a permit from the state.

The annual Freedom on the River celebration, hosted by the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, is set to run as scheduled. Following the procession of the patriotic children&8217;s parade, the fireworks display will begin after dark at approximately 9 p.m.

No fireworks in Linden

Although the fireworks are still on in Demopolis, other areas have issued more stringent restrictions.

At Tuesday&8217;s Linden City Council meeting, the council passed a resolution issuing a temporary ban on the sale and use of fireworks within the city. Furthermore, the resolution stated that The City of Linden will not be issuing permits to sell fireworks until further notice.

Police Chief Jeff Laduron said that the recent rain was not enough to appease drought conditions, which may have been the cause for the ban.

Some area venders are feeling the effects of this temporary ban in Linden.

Buddy Cook, who has been selling fireworks twice a year for the last 6 years, currently owns a fireworks stand in Linden. This year, because of the temporary ban, he will not be allowed to open up for business in Linden.

Fortunately, Cook&8217;s other fireworks stands in Demopolis and Greensboro are under operation. He says that he has not noticed a drop in sales because of the drought conditions.

Playing it Safe

Although the fireworks are still on for this year, there are plenty of precautions to take.

According to a 2005 report by the U.S. Fire Administration, the majority of injuries resulting from fireworks occur around the 4th of July. The report also stated that children under the age of 15 suffered 45 percent of all injuries from fireworks, and that 72 percent of all injuries were to males of all ages. Furthermore, firecrackers were responsible for the greatest number of injuries, approximately 1,600 a year, followed by bottle rockets at 1,000 injuries a year and sparklers with 700 injuries a year.

Cook offered these safety tips when dealing with fireworks:

Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.

Read the label instructions and use common sense.

Always have adult supervision and never give fireworks to small children.

Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Only use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings, vehicles and shrubbery.

Always have water handy.

Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in a metal or glass container.

Light only one firework at a time and always wear eye protection.

Do not experiment with homemade fireworks and never re-light a firework.