Cities prepare for New Years fireworks

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 31, 2007

According to Demopolis City Hall, there are no bans on the sale or use of fireworks for this year&8217;s New Year&8217;s celebration. In Linden, fireworks sales are also allowed after the city did not allow fireworks to be sold during July Fourth.

This news comes after several months of persisting drought conditions. On Aug. 16 the Alabama Forestry Commission declared 59 states in emergency drought conditions, only to repeal the declaration two weeks later. Bans were then downgraded to fire alert, and all burn bans have been lifted with no Alabama counties under drought emergency conditions.

In spite of recent rain to ease drought conditions, State Forester Linda Casey and Alabama Fire Marshal Ed Paulk are still urging caution when it comes to ground level fireworks such as basic firecrackers, sparklers and poppers.

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Playing it Safe

According to National Council on Fireworks Safety, consumers should only buy fireworks from a licensed store or stand. Consumer fireworks regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are packaged in bright colors and have safety warnings on the packaging. The packaging sets forth the country of origin, which is normally China.

Illegal explosives are often unpackaged and are wrapped with plain brown paper.

They are very unlikely to have any safety warnings, or place of manufacture. Many of them are hand made in basements or illicit factories. They go by names such as

M80, Quarter Stick or Cherry Bomb.

Furthermore, the council reports injuries from consumer fireworks have shown a dramatic decrease over the past 20 years, despite an astonishing increase in usage by consumers. Some form of consumer fireworks are now allowed in 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. In 2006, over 250 million pounds of consumer fireworks entered this country from China, an all time high.

Firework safety tips:

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.

Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

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.

Children under age 16 should only use fireworks with adult supervision.

Parents should pay special attention to children using sparkers. Sparklers reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Children should not touch the lit portion of sparklers, throw them or play games with them. Sparklers can be dangerous, if used improperly.