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Fireworks safety a top concern for firefighters over holiday weekend


As Independence Day approaches, firefighters have some safety tips for lighting up fireworks. (WRDW-TV / July 1, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Friday, July 1, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When picking up your fireworks for the weekend, you'll probably be able to choose from a few different types depending on what state you live in, but no matter where you are, do not let your children set them off by themselves.

As the sparks fly this Fourth of July, firefighters like Captain Brent Willis are trying to make sure everyone lights up the sky safely.

"One of the major issues we deal with is kids getting a hold of the fireworks when they are not supervised by an adults," Capt. Willis said.

Set off in the wrong hands and the risks of injuries can shoot up.

"They burn very hot -- that's what causes people to get injured," Capt. Willis said.

Even small sparklers burn at a blazing 2,000 degrees.

"I've seen a couple injuries, mostly hands and face, where someone was accidentally holding and fuse got lit and injured," Capt. Willis said.

When you're getting ready to light your sparkler for the Fourth, make sure you hold it near the metal portion and hold it away from your body. If you live on the other side of the river in South Carolina, not only can you light sparklers, but you can also light fireworks that shoot off into the air, too. Anything that travels in the air and bursts is illegal on the Georgia side.

The summer drought is another reminder not to light these up near any dry grass.

"Do it on a concrete surface on a driveway," Capt Willis said. "Something like that to ensure embers aren't popping out hit the ground."

It's also a a good idea to keep water nearby. Remember not to hold any other fireworks other than sparklers by the handle. The bigger ones will need to be set off from the ground.

Firefighters say children can make the mistake of going over to a firework once they think it's out, but embers can still be shoot up from it, which can cause injuries.

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