FROM STAFF REPORTS
MARBLE FALLS — The Fourth of July is one of the nation’s biggest celebrations, but according to fire officials, it’s also one of the most dangerous due to fires and injuries caused by fireworks.
In 2013, fireworks triggered an estimated 15,600 reported fires in the United States, according to a news release by Marble Falls Fire Marshal Thomas Crane. Those blazes broke down into 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and another 14,000 outdoor and other fires. Those blazes resulted in about 30 civilian injuries and an estimated $21 million in direct property damage.
Crane wants to make sure everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July holiday.
He pointed out that the city of Marble Falls prohibits the use of fireworks within city limits. In fact, most of the cities in the Highland Lakes prohibit the use of fireworks, so if you live in a city, you need to check with the city office before using fireworks.
Crane recommended people attend the area fireworks displays such as Marble Falls Community Fireworks, Kingsland AquaBoom, Llano Rock’N Riverfest, the Briggs Volunteer Fire Department’s Freedom Fest, Johnson City’s Fourth Fest, and the one at Krause Springs. (Read more about area firework displays at 101HighlandLakes.com.)
If people are in unincorporated areas where fireworks are permissible, Crane advised they pay heed to following safety tips.
• Always purchase fireworks from an established retail outlet.
• Always read and follow label directions.
• Only ignite fireworks outdoors in cleared areas away from houses, buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
• Keep water handy for fires and emergencies.
• Never experiment or attempt to make homemade fireworks.
• Light only one firework at a time.
• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks; soak them in water and throw them away.
• Never give fireworks to small children.
• Store fireworks in cool, dry places.
• Never throw fireworks at another person.
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
• Never shoot fireworks in a metal or glass container.
• Wear eye protection when shooting fireworks.
• After shooting them, soak fireworks in water before putting them in the trash.
Also, you should keep a cellphone handy in case a fire does start or another emergency occurs, and you need to call 9-1-1.