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Playing it firework-safe this holiday weekend

Tevera Hesslink helps Ayako Kido (left) choose from the wide selection of fireworks at the stand in front of Silverdale Methodist Church on Wednesday. The church will put the proceeds toward a new bus for use in transporting seniors and children. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Tevera Hesslink helps Ayako Kido (left) choose from the wide selection of fireworks at the stand in front of Silverdale Methodist Church on Wednesday. The church will put the proceeds toward a new bus for use in transporting seniors and children.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Fourth of July weekend can be a fun time to celebrate, but it also can be a dangerous time.

When setting off fireworks there are several dangers that can be avoided if the proper safety measures are taken. But around the Fourth of July is when most fireworks-related injuries occur.

A new study released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff found that nearly 70 percent of all fireworks-related injuries occur around the Fourth of July holiday. The study also found that more than 50 percent of those injuries occur to children and teenagers.

“The best way parents can keep their children safe this Fourth of July is never allow young children to ignite or handle fireworks of any kind,” Hal Stratton, CPSC chairman, said.

He also said that parents often don’t realize that sparklers, a common choice for kids to play with, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.

The top three injury-causing fireworks are firecrackers, sparklers and rockets, according to the CPSC. And those fireworks account for nearly half of all injuries. The sale and use of firecrackers and bottle rockets is illegal in Washington except on tribal lands.

According to a 2004 statistical report from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Kitsap County metro fire departments reported 16 fires and four injuries related to fireworks. In unincorporated areas, fireworks accounted for 34 fires and three injuries, according to the data collected from the Central Kitsap, South Kitsap and North Kitsap fire and rescue districts.

The Central Kitsap School District is taking a tough stand against the use of fireworks on its properties, a popular spot in some neighborhoods.

“We ask that no one use school grounds to set off fireworks,” said Dirk Gleysteen, director of operations for the district. The district also has requested increased Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office patrols on the Fourth of July. It also is illegal to set off fireworks on private and state forest lands. Every year around the Fourth of July, the Washington Department of Natural Resources receives an average of about 90 calls reporting new fires — many of them caused by fireworks, according to a news release.

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