Published 9:45 am Saturday, December 30, 2023
With New Year’s Eve approaching, firework safety is a priority. Deputy Fire Chief Andy Gray discussed the proper handling of fireworks, as well as some precautions to make sure the holiday is a happy one.
In terms of choosing fireworks for the celebrations, Gray cautions against drinking. He also said to be careful when using projectiles.
“Anything that’s a projectile, that is large, they call those a loud bang. The ones that launch up in the air. Sometimes the tubes aren’t secure enough and they fall over, causing a lot of trouble,” said Gray.
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If one falls and is launched there is the danger of it landing near houses or wooded areas. He adds that if it is dry outside, making fire conditions worse, it is especially important to know where they are being shot.
In terms of handling Gray said, “Don’t light them in your hand and hold them, that is what gets a lot of people in trouble, you can lose fingers. Also, you don’t want to have large quantities, close to where you’re lighting them. Of course, they can be very explosive.”
Alabama only recently limited the state-wide no-burn order, deterring non-essential burns due to a lengthy drought. James “Jimbo” Robinson, a Forestry Specialist with the Alabama Forestry Commission, agreed that people choosing to light fireworks should be highly aware of their surroundings.
He asks people to wait until the night before beginning a firework show because the humidity levels are higher making the potential of a fire less likely.
Like Gray, he wants people to be cautious of setting them off near houses, woods, and especially on dead or tall grass that acts as an accelerant.
“If they are going to be doing it around houses, always hook up a garden hose. Make sure you’re garden hose is working … if the garden hose don’t reach I always have a five-gallon bucket outside … Most people might have a mop bucket,” Robinson said.
After people are done shooting fireworks, Robinson said to wait for 30 to 40 minutes. He said if a fire were to start it would be in that timeframe. If a fire does start, he said to call 911 immediately and throw the bucket of water or use the hose to control as much as possible.
“Remember all fire starts small and lots of time if you throw that water on it right quick, you can get to it and get it out,” Robinson said.