South Bend, Ind. Fireworks-related injuries nearly doubled in Indiana between 2012 and 2013, according to the Indiana State Dept. of Health.
Clay Fire Territory Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone is hoping residents will heed safety warnings and help those injuries numbers to decline in 2014.
“Each year in the county, somebody has a structure that's caught on fire because of somebody's misguided fireworks,” Cherrone said.
A drought in the summer of 2012 led to a temporary firework ban. When it was lifted for the summer of 2013, injuries rose as use increased.
“We’re really hoping to drive those numbers down this Fourth of July season,” Cherrone said.
Reading the directions on the packaging of each product is an easy way to avoid injury to users and observers.
“Many of them will tell you exactly how much space you need,” he said. “Ask the people who sell them how much space you need to set this off safely, if they don't know, then go somewhere else but they should know their product.”
He also stressed buying fireworks from a reputable dealer so you know that they have been properly stored
Access to a hose, protective eye-wear and a safe lighter are also crucial. A standing bucket of water is also a good place to let the products soak after they’ve been discharged.
“Wet the area down before you start,” he said, adding that the set-up should be on a solid, flat surface. “Wet each of the devices down, let them lay all night and the next night pick them up and let them soak in a bucket of water all day before your dispose of them properly.”
Fireworks can only be discharged on private property with the permission of the property owner.