Stay safe this New Year’s with these tips

Published 8:28 am Thursday, December 31, 2015

File photo / State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney recommends using caution and common sense when lighting fireworks tonight.

File photo / State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney recommends using caution and common sense when lighting fireworks tonight.

Without any large New Year’s celebrations featuring fireworks in the area, many people will choose to use fireworks at home. Mississippi State Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney urges Mississippians to use caution when celebrating to have a fire-safe New Year.

“This is a time for families and friends to get together for celebration, however everyone needs to be aware of the greater risk of fire when groups gather,” Chaney said. “Be sure to use common sense when handling any type of fireworks and be especially cautious where young children are concerned as statistics show children ages 5 to 9 and teens 15 to 19 are two-and-a-half times more at risk for injury,” Chaney said.

Fireworks are prohibited within the Brookhaven city limits, so those who wish to celebrate with the sparkly stuff need to do so a little farther out.

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Though popular with teenagers, bottle rocket wars or similar activities are extremely dangerous, and fireworks should never be pointed at others. Sparklers, often a favorite with children, can reach up to 1,200 degrees, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns. Fire officials advise sparkler users to keep a bucket of water nearby and to drop the spent sparklers in to cool them down.

Fireworks can also be dangerous to pets. Pets may flee from fireworks and become disoriented and exhausted. American Humane Society cited situations in which fearful animals broke a leash, dug under a wall or jumped a high fence.

AHA recommends that pet owners ensure that pets are wearing a collar and identification tag.

Those traveling should also exercise caution on the roads, as the holiday is popular for throwing parties and drinking, thus increasing the risk of encountering drunk drivers.

Following these few simple tips from the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office and the National Fire Protection Association can ensure a happy and fire-safe New Year celebration.

• Use common sense and always read and follow the directions on each firework.

• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

• Buy from reliable fireworks sellers. Store them in a cool, dry place.

• Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.

• Put used fireworks in a bucket of water and have a hose ready.

• Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass and trees.

• Light only one item at a time and keep a safe distance.

• Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.

• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.

• Never give fireworks to small children.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

• Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.