Fireworks for sale, but keep safety in mind

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fireworks went on sale today in McCook, three days later than the state law allows but in line with the new regulations adopted by the City Council last December.

The statute now allows fireworks to be sold from 8 a.m. June 28 until 10 p.m. July 4, and discharged between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. June 23 through July 3, and between 8 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. July 4 and between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 5.

That last day is presumably to get rid of leftovers or in case of bad weather July 4. There are also permissible sale and discharge days for New Years celebrations.

As one City Council member remarked, that ought to be enough noise for anybody.

There's a broader selection of consumer fireworks available this year, according to the state fire marshal's office, but thinks like rockets with sticks attached, night-time parachutes and wire sparklers, except those gold or silver in color. A list of prohibited items can be found here.

There are reasons for the restrictions.

Last year, there were 144 injuries due to fireworks in Nebraska.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety, American Pyrotechnics and the Insurance Information Instutute and others offer the following safety tips:

* Never throw or point fireworks at others.

* Obey the law. Don't use fireworks that are illegal in the state.

* Keep fireworks away from children. Sparklers burn at up to 2,000 degrees, making them extremely dangerous for children.

* Always read and follow the directions carefully.

* Take it slow. Light only one at a time.

* Don't use malfunctioning items. Never attempt to relight a firework that fails to go off.

* Have a fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water handy for emergencies. Drop used fireworks into a bucket of water.

* Alcohol and fireworks don't mix. Use a "designated lighter."

Of course, authorities recommend passing up home fireworks altogether and taking in one of the public displays planned for many area towns.

If you'd like to support McCook's fireworks display, set for the Red Willow County Fairgrounds at dusk July 4, send your donation to the McCook Optimist Club, P.O. Box 272, McCook NE 69001-0272.

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