The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

July 1, 2014

Fourth foresight

Be safe, use common sense to celebrate Independence Day

ENID, Okla. — We hope this year’s Fourth of July celebration is fun and goes off without a hitch.

Enid fire officials want to remind residents of a citywide ban that prevents the possession and discharge of fireworks within city limits.

Fire Marshal Ken Helms said more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year in the United States. More than half of the fires are started by fireworks. Mishaps could be avoided by using common sense.

Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Moss said it is best to make arrangements to go to a friend or relative’s house outside city limits to set off fireworks.

However, he reminded the public it also is against Oklahoma law to set off fireworks on county or public roads, and it is illegal to ignite fireworks near a standing crop.

Consumer fireworks, commonly referred to as Class C fireworks, are prohibited in city limits, but novelty fireworks such as party poppers, snappers and smoke bombs are not. The ordinance applies to fireworks that are not considered novelties that often bear a 1.4 g-rating on the packaging.

The ordinance states the definition of fireworks includes, but is not limited to, firecrackers, Roman candles, skyrockets, stick rockets and rocket-fired toys.

The use of fireworks in city limits is a class B offense and punishable by a fine up to $500 and court costs.

Firework safety tips, according to the metro-based INTEGRIS Paul Silverstein Burn Center, are obvious:

Read all instructions and warnings and only use fireworks outdoors.

Use a designated adult to act as the fireworks shooter, and don’t mix alcohol with fireworks.

Light all fireworks on a flat surface away from structures and flammable materials such as dry leaves.

Obviously, don’t aim them at other people. And spectators should keep a safe distance.

It’s also a good idea to have a bucket nearby in case of a fire.

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