Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


June 28, 2014

Kaboom: Tips for a happy, safe July 4th celebration

CHEROKEE COUNTY — As Americans unfurl their flags, fire up their grills and get ready to parade around downtown, Cherokee County fire departments are reminding citizens to keep their common sense close this July Fourth holiday season -- especially when using fireworks.

Popping fire crackers is a long-time tradition on Independence Day and this year in Cherokee County, the weather has cooperated. Overly dry summers and the resulting burn bans have made using fireworks a real concern for local fire departments in recent years.

"Thanks to all the rain we're getting right now, we're looking very good this year in terms of avoiding wildfires," Maydelle Fire Chief Jody Gray said Friday. "But that doesn't mean people can let their guard down because ground moisture doesn't do a thing to help keep a house from catching on fire."

Rusk Fire Department Chief Donald Lankford agreed.

"Just use some common sense when you're using fireworks," Lankford said.

Law enforcement officials within Cherokee County also remind residents the use of fireworks is prohibited within the city limits of most local municipalities, including Jacksonville and Rusk.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges Americans to follow common sense safety rules this Fourth of July in their holiday celebrations.

"We want consumers to be safe from beginning to end when enjoying their fireworks," National Council on Fireworks Safety President Nancy Blogin stated in a release published at the Council's website, fireworkssafety.org. "We want there to be a safe place to shoot, to have a designated shooter that takes responsibility for the show and to have the fireworks disposed of properly."

The National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to educate the public on the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)'s website, cpsc.gov, reports an average of 200 people visit hospital emergency rooms every year during the week of July 4, with fireworks-related injuries.

The NCFS, the CPSC and the Black Cat fireworks manufacturer shared these safety tips on their websites:

* Always purchase your fireworks from reliable sources.

* Follow instructions.

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

* Never point or throw fireworks at another person or a pet.

* Use outdoors only in a clear area away from buildings, vehicles and shrubbery. Have water handy.

* Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them in metal or glass containers.

* Light only one firework at a time. Wear eye protection and never have any portion of your body over the firework.

* Don't experiment with homemade fireworks and never attempt to relight a firework.

According to the company's website, blackcatfireworks.com, "the Blackcat brand was introduced in the U.S. in the 1940s by Li & Fung, one of the largest and most respected Trading Companies in China became a registered trademark in 1952 and is now the oldest and most highly recognized fireworks brand in the world!"


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