County urges fireworks caution during 4th of July

As the Fourth of July approaches, Pierce County Fire Marshal Wayne Wienholz is calling for citizens to use fireworks safely and legally. Pierce County is working with other fire service agencies and the fireworks industry to promote safety awareness during the upcoming holiday week.

“Each Fourth of July brings injuries and fires caused by the illegal or misuse of fireworks,” Wienholz said. “Fireworks can be dangerous and must be treated with caution and respect and used safely.”

In unincorporated Pierce County, fireworks may legally be purchased and discharged between noon June 28 and 9 p.m. July 5. Fire officials are asking citizens to restrict the use of fireworks when conditions are dry.

While it is legal to discharge fireworks on private property in unincorporated Pierce County, cities and towns within the county may have different regulations. Citizens should check with their local jurisdictions to learn if fireworks can be discharged.

Officials urge citizens to purchase fireworks at licensed, permitted stands. “Fireworks purchased at tribal stands may not be legal for use or possession off of tribal lands,” Wienholz said. Firecrackers, bottle-rockets, missiles and similar devices are illegal. “Cherry bombs, M-80s and similar devices are not fireworks — they are federally banned explosives and are dangerous,” he said.

Pierce County’s Fire Prevention Bureau offers these fireworks safety suggestions:

– Be considerate. Not everyone shares in the enjoyment of fireworks. Check with your neighbors.

– Use fireworks on private property only with the explicit approval of the property owner.

– Purchase legal fireworks and buy only the quantity you will use.

– Ensure the safety of spectators and pets.

– Keep a bucket of water close by and have a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby to put out sparks.

– Keep emergency numbers available; also your address/location and basic first aid supplies.

– Stop, drop and roll if clothes catch on fire.

– Only adults should light fireworks.

– Wear safety goggles when lighting fireworks.

– Follow directions on the label.

– Light one item at a time and move away quickly.

– Keep spectators at a safe distance.

– Use only outdoors, away from anything that can burn.

– Clean up all debris when finished.

– Duds can be dangerous. If an item does not light, an adult should wait at least five minutes, approach it carefully and place it in a bucket of water.

– Make sure unused fireworks, matches and lighters are out of sight and reach of children.