Experts are stressing the importance of staying safe while playing with fireworks during New Year's Eve celebrations. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 30, 2011)
News 12 First at Five / Friday, Dec. 30, 2011
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Many of us are flocking to fireworks stores as we prepare for New Year's Eve.
"Right around New Year's it just gets crazy," said Fireworks Giant Manager Kevin Tripp. "Today will be really busy, and tomorrow, the 31st, will be the busiest day for sure."
After the fireworks-buying frenzy dies down, we'll blow them up in the streets as the clock strikes midnight.
"I think that a lot of people really enjoy getting together with their family and doing something like this for New Year's," Tripp said. "You know, there's just something about doing fireworks for New Year's that just brings a family together."
However, making one mistake while lighting them off could send you to the emergency room.
"These are consumer fireworks," Tripp explained. "These are built and designed and sold with safety in mind, and just like anything that you do, there are safety precautions to take."
Danny Kuhlmann, a firefighter at the Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue, said a lot of small children get injured from fireworks every year.
"If you discharge into a grassy yard or on top of a house that has pine straw on it, these things can be lit off by the fireworks," Kuhlmann said.
To stop those fires from starting in the first place, Kuhlmann has some advice.
"If you can find a large open parking lot or field, something you can control, then you're not having to worry about the shells coming down in the woods or on top of houses or buildings," he explained.
Basically, it's important to use your common sense.
"All of this stuff is designed to be safe," Tripp said. "I think that if it's used the right way, there are really no real dangers involved as long as you're just smart about what you're doing."