Officials urge caution when using fireworks this Fourth
They are pretty and bright. And plenty dangerous for children and adults alike.
Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Chambers is urging residents to use caution when setting off fireworks this Fourth of July.
There is no ban on any type of fireworks this July 4 in the unincorporated areas of Hays County, unlike last year, Chambers said, noting that incorporated cities and towns set their own fireworks use rules that can differ from the unincorporated areas.
“State statutes are very clear on when a county can ban fireworks, or types of fireworks, in the unincorporated areas of a county,” Chambers said. “Current conditions do not support a fireworks ban under state law.” To ban fireworks, state law requires that there be an “imminent danger” that would allow a county to declare a local state of disaster. It is a separate law from that authorizing burn bans.
Chambers also noted that there is no burn ban in the county, but that could change within the next week or two as dry conditions are expected to worsen.
“Currently our Drought Index is in the 400-range, below the mid-500 level that indicates we should consider a ban. Morning humidity is high, which also helps prevent grass fires.” Chambers suggested that residents who need to burn pick a day soon when winds are low and to make sure the fire is attended by an adult at all times.
Fireworks Safety Tips
• Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby.
• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Always have an adult supervise all fireworks activities. Children can suffer injuries even from sparklers, which parents often assume are “safe.” Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
To prevent a trash fire, douse spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.