Fourth of July fireworks safest when observed

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Fourth of July is tomorrow when people traditionally celebrate this nation’s declaration of independence from England and community fireworks, burgers, hot dogs and festivities are planned, but for do-it-yourselfers safety should be key when dealing with fire works.

The best advice for fireworks safety is to go to a professional event, said Picayune Fire Marshal Pat Weaver.

One such event is planned at the McNeill Fire Department Wednesday from 8 a.m. until. There will be food, festivities, a political rally, live music and a fireworks display at dark.

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An emergency responder parade is set to begin at 9 a.m. where all emergency responders in the area will parade around McNeill and Carriere, said McNeill Fire Chief Melvin Glidewell. There also will be a bicycle parade at 9 a.m. on the walking trail where judges will award prizes for the best bike.

At 10 a.m., the national anthem will be sung with an invocation to follow. The rest of the day there will be speeches by various political candidates and gospel singing in between.

Food will be available, including red beans and rice, hamburgers, hot dogs and sausage, Glidewell said.

“Come bring your lawn chair and your family,” Glidewell said. “Eat, drink and be merry with us.”

Glidewell said the fireworks should begin between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Carriere Fire Chief Tom Wagner said the Hide-A-Way Lake Association will put on a fire works show as well, but representatives with Hide-A-Way Lake could not be reached Monday afternoon for details.

For those who like to put on their own show, setting off fireworks in the city limits of Picayune will be allowed two weeks prior to the holiday and one day afterward, said Deputy Chief David Ervin. Parents should supervise children who are using fire works and also should be cautious of children using sparklers. Ervin said a sparkler can reach temperatures of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The light end of a sparkler is very dangerous,” Ervin said.

Weaver said it is best to set fireworks on the ground before lighting them, as the instructions state. Residents should also look for debris that may catch fire before lighting fireworks, said Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Bobby Strahan. Debris could be found on rooftops and could cause a potential fire hazard for people’s homes if fireworks land on the roof, Strahan said. Roofs should be cleared of all such debris beforehand. Areas with brush should also be avoided, Strahan said.

Using fireworks near a source of water, such as a garden hose, would be wise, Ervin said. Weaver said a fire extinguisher also would be good to keep around while fireworks are in use.

If a fireworks device does not go off after it has been lighted, then it should be left alone, Weaver said. If for some reason the firework does need to be handled in such a case it should be many minutes after it was initially light. Fireworks should be lighted with a smoldering stick of punk instead of an open flame. It is never wise to light fireworks with a camp fire, Strahan said.

“I have seen kids do that and they go off right there in their hand or their face,” Strahan said.

While it is legal to shoot fireworks in the city, Ervin said there is a noise ordinance that begins at 10 p.m. After that time residents can call in reports of noisy disturbances.

“I hope people have a good and safe Fourth of July,” Strahan said. “Just be responsible.”