Safety and common sense are key to celebrating Independence Day.
We want people to enjoy fireworks and enjoy the holiday, said John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Its a great time for families. Just be careful.
Capt. Dave Meadows of the Fort Wayne Fire Department suggested residents go to professional fireworks displays instead of conducting their own.
If residents decide to light fireworks, officials said, they should follow these safety tips: keep fireworks away from children; keep spectators far away from the fireworks to avoid injury; light fireworks one at a time; and have a water source nearby.
Erickson said people should set off fireworks only on their own property or where they have received the property owners permission – a warning consistent with the laws in Fort Wayne.
Residents must be 18 or older to buy fireworks, and ages 17 and younger can set off fireworks only when a parent is present.
Kids can be awfully quick, Erickson said. Even if you think you have them far away enough, they could slide in very quickly and get their hands on something they shouldnt.
Sparklers are one of the most dangerous items, Meadows said. They burn at 800 degrees, and any contact with skin would immediately cause third-degree burns.
Sometimes people think those small fireworks are some of the safest, but they can do just as much damage, Meadows said.
Parents looking for a safer, legal alternative can give their children glowsticks.
Erickson encouraged people to check with their local communities on limitations and times for lighting fireworks, as they vary within Indiana.
Fireworks in Fort Wayne can be used only from 5 p.m. until two hours after dusk – about 11 p.m. – from Tuesday through Saturday and again from July 5 to 9. On July 4, the hours are extended: from 10 a.m. until midnight.
Mainly, be careful, Erickson said. Its a tradition that people across the United States enjoy. An accident can turn tragic. Were just hoping that people can be safe.