Residents urged to be responsible with fireworks this Fourth of July


GRAFTON—With the Independence Day holiday quickly approaching, the sound of fireworks is already filling the air, and officials would like to remind individuals of some important fireworks-related information.

“When you think Fourth of July, you think fireworks,” commented Public Safety Director and Grafton Police Chief Robert Beltner. “Everyone is entitled to a good time, but by following some safety tips and obeying local laws, you shouldn’t have any issues this Independence Day.”

One of the most important things that residents can do to ensure a fun and safe holiday, is to be careful when using fireworks.

“Anyone using fireworks should be sure to read all of the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings, before igniting the products,” shared Beltner.

In addition to reading and understanding the directions, individuals can follow a few safety tips to help decrease the amount of firework related injuries.

The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds residents that while fireworks can be fun, but if used improperly, they can result in injury or property damage. To help reduce the risk of injury, it is suggested that party goers designate a shooter for the pyrotechnics.

Knowing your surroundings is key to a successful firework show. Make sure that all rocket type fireworks have plenty of room to safely land on the ground and not on nearby roofs or buildings.

“Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse and be sure to back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks,” suggested Timothy Rock, WV State Fire Marshal’s Office Public Information Specialist.

The office also suggests having water on standby. Officials from the office also recommend that canisters should be submerged in water after shooting off the charges to ensure that the firework is completely extinguished.

“Never relight a ‘dud’ firework. Wait 20 minutes before attempting to pick up the firework and then soak it in a bucket of water,” voiced Rock.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, alcohol and fireworks do not mix. If a person is going to use one, they should not use the other. The council suggests saving the alcohol for after the show.

The Fire Marshal’s Office would like to remind individuals to be respectful of others in their neighborhoods. Often times, the discharge of a firework can have an adverse effect on those who have served in the military.

Be mindful if you have veterans living near you, and do the neighborly thing, by letting them know when you plan to discharge the explosives.

Additionally, some pets also experience trauma from the blast of fireworks. Keeping them indoors during a display, leaving a television or radio on to lend some background noise or being home or having someone present with your anxious animal can help alleviate some of the stress, as well.

Another group that should be monitored during a display are children.

Parents and guardians should closely supervise teens if they are using pyrotechnics, and young children should not handle or use fireworks.

“Really, fireworks should only be used by persons 18 years or older, and parents should supervise younger children around fireworks,” noted Beltner. “People may also want to check with their city to make sure certain fireworks are permitted within city limits.”

Beltner shared that his department will be enforcing Ordinance 848, that was adopted in October 2016 by the Grafton City Council, that states any person or persons discharging or exploding any kind of rocket type fireworks within city limits will be guilty of a misdemeanor crime and will result in the fining of the guilty party.

“The first time an officer is called to a fireworks complaint, the individual(s) will receive a warning,” he revealed. “If an officer is called back to the scene for the same issue, then a citation will be written.”

Officials remind that it is very important for individuals to realize that they are responsible for any damages that result from the use of fireworks.

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