By Berklie Haag
With Independence Day fast approaching, adults and children are overwhelmed with anticipation of celebration and fireworks. Even with the excitement of July 4, people need to be safe and responsible with their firework use.
June 24 is the day that the state of Nebraska issues as the day that firework sales may begin. The City of Gordon allows fireworks to be sold from June 25 to July 4. Fireworks may be discharged between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. from June 25 to July 3 and from 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the 4th of July.
The City of Gordon’s section 7-403 says that no person shall sell or discharge any fireworks on any public street or public property without providing for the cleanup and removal of debris immediately following discharge. It also states that no person under the age of 16 shall sell or dischage fireworks without the supervision of an adult.
The cities of Rushville and Hay Springs would like residents to be aware of Nebraska’s laws for acceptable use of fireworks and hours for lighting them. These state laws say that it is legal to shoot off fireworks until 10 p.m. on June 25 to July 3. On July 4, it is legal to shoot off fireworks until 12 p.m.
Jerry Kearns of the Rushville Volunteer Fire Department stated “On a normal, extremely dry year, the fire department would be very worried about dry grass fires. This isn’t a normal year. Still, safety is our number one concern. Anyone handling fireworks needs to be a responsible adult. Too many times accidents happen when someone gets too lax when they are lighting off fireworks.” Kearns also encourages people gathering in large groups to celebrate to leave a designated spot open specifically for fireworks. This spot needs to be far away from where the gathering is mainly taking place, otherwise mass chaos can happen if a firework were to discharge in the wrong direction.
As much as friends and families enjoy the glittering spectacles, it is important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous, and safety will make these celebrations much more enjoyable. The Nebraska National Safety Council website offers various tips to help keep everyone safe this firework season.
Sparklers are kid-friendly and easy-to-use! Right? Yes, if they are used correctly. According to the Safety Council, 20 percent of all firework-related injuries to children are caused by sparklers. It is important that parents supervise and teach their kids proper handling techniques.
Making sure that fireworks are competely out and properly disposed of is a good idea to ensure that burns don’t ruin the party for anyone. After lighting a dud, do not try to relight it. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then soak the dud in water to ensure no relighting happens on its own. This is a good practice for all fireworks after they have been lit. Let them cool before handling, and then place them in water. No fires because of hot cartridges will start this way. It is a good idea to keep a bucket or hose around as a precautionary measure as well.
If alcohol is present at a party, a designated firework shooter who remains alcohol free should be selected. This extra safety measure will help to keep everyone’s lives out of danger which will lead to a more enjoyable 4th of July expierience.
The Nebraska National Safety Council reccomends not importing fireworks from other cities or states. These fireworks may not be legal where you are lighting them off.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety encourages anyone who shoots off loud fireworks to be courteous to American service men and women who may suffer from stress-related disorders.
However you choose to celebrate the 4th of July, whether it is through fireworks, food, friends, family, or festivities, let freedom ring.