Fireworks Sales Take Off, Experts Urge Safety


Some area stands say they’re off to a good start this fireworks season, but as buyers ignite their purchases, safety experts have a few tips they want everyone to remember.

Richard Raile set up Rockin’ Rich’s Fireworks in Grand Island’s north Dairy Queen parking lot again this year, and says customers are back, looking for the most fun for their money.

“We got anything from the zips to the little cakes for the little guys, they’re really cute nine shots, they go up in the sky, big as your lawn, to the real big boomers, to the in between,” says Raile.

Fireworks season in GI, like most of Nebraska, is relatively short, so the week before Independence Day is full of pops and booms.

“It’s been going really good, we’re glad mother nature laid off, got a little wet [Sunday] morning, but pushed on and it’s just been a beautiful day and it’s been going really good,” Raile says of their sales.

Fun is everyone’s goal, so fire officials are stressing safety while celebrating the summer holiday.

“It’s hard to be safe when everything you’re going to do there is not really that safe, so do the best you can and use good common sense and judgement,” says Grand Island Fire Prevention Division Chief Fred Hotz.

Hotz says grass and roofs can still catch fire even after recent rains. And a national safety report from 2011 says about 200 people nationwide head to the emergency room each day in the month around the 4th of July with firework-related injuries, most often to fingers and hands.

“If a kid is running out in the street in front of a car, you need to reach out and grab the kid and stop them, and this is a perfect example of that with fireworks -- there’s danger there and parents need to exercise, be aggressively exercising parental guidance,” says Hotz.

The dates and times people can purchase or shoot off fireworks varies between cities, so it’s best to contact local police or fire officials to find out for sure what’s allowed.

GIFD also has these firework safety tips:

- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Even sparklers pose a hazard for children. Metal sparklers are illegal for safety reasons.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. In addition, wear fitted clothing to reduce the risk of clothes catching on fire when lighting fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Only use legal fireworks sold from Nebraska fireworks stands.
- Always keep a source of water close by in case of fire or other accidents. It is also a good idea to have a first-aid kit handy.
- Never try and relight fireworks that have not ignited.
- Properly dispose of fireworks by soaking in water before placing in a garbage can.
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
- Consider attending a free public fireworks show to eliminate chance of injuries.