Fireworks safety

Dear Editor:On July 3, 1776, future U.S. President John Adams suggested in a now famous letter to his wife Abigail that Independence Day "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade...bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore." When John Adams wrote those prophetic words some 235 years ago, I doubt seriously he considered the fact that the country would have expanded so much to include areas that experience particularly dry conditions around Independence Day. As much as we all like to celebrate the freedoms we cherish so fervently in America with consumer fireworks, we must be mindful of the dry conditions and the possibility that use of fireworks in dry weather conditions could spark an inadvertent fire. Generally, whether you intend to use consumer fireworks or not, the following general precautions make a good deal of sense anytime the conditions are particularly dry in your area. •Use ashtrays instead of tossing burning cigarettes from cars •Trim back your yard foliage, including tree branches overhanging the roof •Clean leaves and pine needles off the roof and out of the gutters •Store combustibles as far from the house as possible •Warn your children about the dangers of setting fires •Keep hoses in a convenient location where they are easily accessible When considering the use of consumer fireworks, there are several common sense and logical steps one can take to insure that a fireworks display in dry weather conditions can be safe, free from inadvertent fires and entertaining. •Fireworks should be handled and fired only by sober adults •The shooting site should ideally be concrete, asphalt or dirt - a surface that will not burn •The fireworks should be kept away from wooded or grassy areas that would be susceptible to fire •You must make sure that all combustible grass, dry leaves and brush are cleaned from the launch area and in any areas along the flight trajectory or in the fallout zone of your fireworks •The launch area should be completely wet down before you ignite any fireworks to insure that inadvertent sparks in the immediate launch area do not catch the surrounding area on fire •An adult should be identified as the fireman, whose job is to have a ready source of water available (a connected hose is best) and to watch the fireworks to make sure they come down cold and do not ignite any grass or brush fires Fireworks can provide hours of wonderful, wholesome family entertainment, but only if used properly and according to good, common sense protocol. Please enjoy the coming Independence Day holiday with your family, and use all appropriate safety precautions when using consumer fireworks. -- William A. Weimer, Vice President, Phantom Fireworks

********** Published: June 23, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 10