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Victoria Fire Department urges fireworks safety

July 3, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.


FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS

• Use fireworks outdoors only

• Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them

• Always have water handy (a hose or bucket

• Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them

• Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water

• Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter"

• Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type

• Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives

SOURCE: National Council on Fireworks Safety

The Victoria Fire Department urges residents to safely enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July by attending local sanctioned fireworks shows, such as the annual fireworks show at the Victoria Mall.

The show is presented by trained professionals who adhere to strict safety codes, according to a news release from the city.

Residents are reminded that it is illegal to possess, store, sell, handle and/or use fireworks in or within 5,000 feet of the city limits of Victoria, according to the release.

Illegal fireworks include anything designed to produce a visible and audible effect by ignition with a match or other heat-producing device.

Sparklers, firecrackers and Roman candles are examples of illegal fireworks. Fireworks found within the city limits of Victoria will be immediately confiscated, and violators could be fined up to $2,000 for each offense, according to the news release.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires in 2010. These fires resulted in eight reported deaths, 60 injuries and $36 million in direct property damage.

In 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms saw an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks-related injuries, according to the release.

"Fireworks safety is not a supervision issue," said Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler in the news release. "A fireworks injury happens in the blink of an eye, whether or not a parent or other responsible adult is present.

"The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. We encourage the public to celebrate Independence Day safely at the Victoria Mall," said Legler.

For more information on fireworks or other fire and life safety topics, contact the Fire Marshal's Office at 361-485-3460 or visit victoriatx.org and click on the "Fire Department" link.

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