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Fireworks safety tips offered

Statement as distributed Monday by the Fort Wayne Fire Department:

FORT WAYNE, IND., July 1, 2013 – The American traditions of parades, cookouts, and fireworks help us celebrate the summer season, especially our nation’s birthday on the Fourth of July. However, fireworks can turn a joyful celebration into a painful memory when children and adults are injured while using fireworks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2011 about 9,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. More than half the injuries were burns and most of the injuries involved the head (including face, eyes and ears) hands, fingers and legs. Children and young adults under the age of 20 accounted for more than 50 percent of the estimated injuries.

Safety is always the key to any activity and this includes fireworks. For your safety, as well as that of your loved ones, neighbors and the community, the Fort Wayne Fire Department suggests you enjoy your fireworks at a professional event. If you do purchase fireworks for private use, FWFD encourages you to use them responsibly and take the necessary safety precautions.

•Never let children handle, play with, or light any fireworks.

•Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.

•Never hold fireworks in your hand to light.

•Eye protection should be worn at all times.

•Use in a clear, open area. Keep audience a safe distance away from the shooting site.

•Never point or throw a firework at another person/s.

•Do not alter any fireworks device or make your own fireworks.

•Light only one firework at a time.

•Never attempt to re-light, alter, or fix any "dud" firework item.

•Soak your spent fireworks in a bucket of water to make sure they are fully extinguished.

•Have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose, or bucket of water nearby.

•Please think about your pets! Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed by fireworks. Please keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will get loose or get injured.

•Please be respectful of your neighbors and clean up after yourself. Do not allow children to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event

Fort Wayne officials also remind you to follow the laws governing fireworks in the city limits. Fort Wayne’s City Ordinance says:

•Fireworks may be used only on the user’s property, on the property of someone who has consented to the use of fireworks, or at a special discharge location. (Note: A special discharge location is a place designated by the State Fire Marshal for the discharge of consumer fireworks).

•Fireworks can be purchased only by adults 18 years of age or older. Children under 18 may only use fireworks when an adult is present.

•Fireworks may be used only between 5:00 p.m. to two hours after dusk (approximately 11:00 p.m.) from June 29-July 3 and again from July 5-9.

•On July 4th, the hours are extended from 10 a.m. until midnight.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department encourages you to celebrate safely this 4th of July. Visit fortwaynefiredepartment.org for more fireworks information.

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