Robb Hicken: Enjoy fireworks, but stay safe

July 3, 2014 

In your rush to buy up those last minute fireworks, consider:

• Know what you're buying. Make sure you understand what the firework does. Some fireworks that shoot into the air are illegal in some states. Also try to confirm how old the fireworks are. Fireworks may deteriorate over time, which could affect their performance.

• Know your vendor. Fireworks are often sold from temporary locations or roadside stands. Make sure to keep the proof of purchase and try to get manufacturer information. Keep the packaging as the firework itself explodes leaving no proof of purchase or product label. If something were to malfunction and cause damage or injury you may need to prove who is liable.

• Know how to use them. Make sure you understand how to use the firework to avoid property damage and possible injuries. Remember all fireworks can be dangerous if misused. Be sure to read and follow instructions.

• Know your environment. Be mindful of where you will be using fireworks. In previous years, our region has banned fireworks during drought conditions to avoid fire hazards. While that may not be the case this year, you may encounter restrictions if you are traveling. Keep in mind that in a crowded subdivision, fireworks with a long flight path pose the risk of hitting neighboring property or people. Using airborne fireworks under tree cover could also pose risks of unintended ricochets. Many household pets are frightened by fireworks. If you live in a neighborhood with animals close by you may consider limiting what you buy.

• Know who will be using them. Many fireworks should not be used by children. Make sure you purchase fireworks that are appropriate for those who will be using them. Check for safety guidelines and always supervise children. If you are having family and friends over to celebrate you may want to consider what liability you are incurring if they are hurt on your property or if they damage a neighboring property. It may be worthwhile to consult your homeowners insurance and you may want to limit who actually handles the fireworks.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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