Use common sense on New Year’s Eve

Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown reminds adults not to let children handle fireworks.  Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown reminds adults not to let children handle fireworks.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

It’s long been a tradition to ring in the New Year with fireworks, but local fire chiefs warn consumers before lighting up on New Years Eve.

Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown and Poplarville Fire Chief Bobby Strahan warn residents to be careful and use common sense while shooting off fireworks.

“They’re pretty but they can be very dangerous,” Strahan said.

Brown said only adults should handle fireworks and put on the shows for children, instead of children handling the fireworks.

He said the tip of sparkler, which is what many children normally are allowed to play with, burns at 1,200 degrees, which can cause a third degree burn.

Strahan said don’t hold fireworks when lighting the fuses. They should be laid on the ground, he said. If a person becomes distracted or something is wrong with a firework, it can cause injuries.

Residents also should keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire, Brown said. He also recommends wearing ear and eye protection.

Both Strahan and Brown said to light fireworks in a clear area, away from grass, structures and flammables.

Brown said fireworks could be legally used from Dec. 5 – Jan. 2 in Picayune city limits.

Chief Deputy Shane Tucker with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department said residents in the county can legally light fireworks as long as there is no burn ban. Tucker said residents should be respectful of your neighbors when celebrating the New Year.

In the city limits of Poplarville, residents aren’t allowed to use fireworks, Strahan said.

“We’ve had a couple of good years. We’ve been very blessed to not have many calls over the last few years,” Brown said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 fires in 2011. The fires resulted in $32 million in direct property damage.

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