Be safe this Fourth of July

Kenra Keller stocks 100 shot Magical Barrage fireworks at the Faith Fellowship Youth Missions fireworks stand on Bucklin Hill in Silverdale. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kenra Keller stocks 100 shot Magical Barrage fireworks at the Faith Fellowship Youth Missions fireworks stand on Bucklin Hill in Silverdale.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Brightly colored fireworks will be bursting in the air over Kitsap County this Fourth of July.

Local officials are urging people to stay safe during this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

Legal consumer fireworks may be used in unincorporated areas of the county during the following days and times:

• Friday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 3: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

• Wednesday, July 4: 9 a.m. to midnight

• Thursday, July 5: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Legal consumer fireworks include sparklers, cones, fountains, ground spinners, spinning wheels, smoke devices, roman candles, small mines, shells and mortars. The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office encourages people to purchase only legal fireworks at licensed stands. Sheriff’s deputies will be enforcing state law in unincorporated areas regarding the discharge of legal fireworks, according to a report.

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue and the American Red Cross encourage Kitsap County residents to watch professional fireworks displays as opposed to setting off their own fireworks. A Fourth of July fireworks display will be on July 4 at the Kitsap BlueJackets game at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

“Local fire departments encourage folks to leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Theresa MacLennan, CKFR spokeswoman. “People should attend a public display rather than shoot off their own fireworks.”

If people do set off their own fireworks display, MacLennan encourages them to keep a safe distance away from the display, have water readily available, clean up all debris afterwards and never let children handle fireworks.

“Kids should not play with fireworks unsupervised,” said Janet Heath, American Red Cross service area manager. “Let grown-ups handle fireworks.”

In 2005, 10,800 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. One victim of a fireworks display gone wrong is 3-year-old Michael Shannon. The North Carolina boy was killed during a family Fourth of July celebration in 1991. A legal consumer firework struck him in the head. He was more than 40 feet away from the fireworks.

In the event someone is burned with a hot barbecue grill or careless use of fireworks, the American Red Cross offers several tips:

• Stop the burning by putting out the flames or removing the victim from the source of the burn.

• Cool the burn with large amounts of water. Do not use ice or ice water.

• Cover the burn using dry, sterile dressing or a clean cloth.

• Keep the burn clean and put an antibiotic ointment on it. Watch for signs of infection.

Critical burns need immediate medical attention, so the American Red Cross urges people to call 911 if the burn is severe.

“We tell kids if they see something happen that doesn’t appear safe, tell an adult,” Heath said. “It’s all very common sense.”

The weather also plays a large role in the start of fires. Fireworks should not be lit in dry, windy conditions. Illegal fireworks such as bottle rockets shoot into the sky and are often unpredictable. Unpredictable fireworks and dry, windy conditions may result in a wildfire or structure fire.

“Fireworks can start wildfires and roof fires, people need to be aware of that,” Heath said.

Heath, like MacLennan, hopes Kitsap County residents will watch a public display this Independence Day.

“We recommend people watch organized fireworks displays,” Heath said. “We have great displays in the area.”

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