Better safe than singed

By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Safe Fireworks tips: - Do not allow children to light fireworks. A responsible adult should always be present. - Read directions on fireworks prior to lighting - Do not attempt to relight a “dud” or try to fix a firework, it could explode - Place used fireworks in a bucket of water and have a hose available in the event of a fire - Do not aim or throw fireworks at people or objects Information provided by the Rocklin and Roseville fire departments Report the sale or use of illegal fireworks at 774-5000- Roseville’s 24-hour non-emergency line or dial 911 For many Americans the Fourth of July holiday is typically marked with sparklers and screaming Piccolo Petes. But all too often house fires and trips to the emergency room ruin fireworks fun. According to the United States Fire Administration in 2007, 9,800 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries. “Last year we issued seven citations and answered 117 service calls to citizens concerned about firework use in their neighborhood,” said Dennis Mathisen, Roseville Fire Departemt division chief/fire marshal. Last year Roseville fire crews answered calls for several grass fires for citizens shooting fireworks too close to open fields and a roof fire caused by a bottle rocket, a firework illegal in the state of California. However, any firework used incorrectly can cause injury, property damage and even death Bill Mikesell, Rocklin fire chief said. In California, all legal fireworks are labeled with the state fire marshal’s seal of approval and can be found on the firework itself or its packaging. Those fireworks bought out of state are considered illegal and, if found, will be seized by officials. According to a news release from the Roseville Fire Department, examples of illegal fireworks include cherry bombs, roman candles, firecrackers and mortars. “A firework is considered illegal if it explodes, leaves the ground or darts across the ground uncontrollably,” Mathisen said. “California approved fireworks are considered safe and sane, if used properly.” The Roseville and Rocklin fire departments have issued a “zero tolerance” policy for the use and possession of illegal fireworks. Residents in possession of illegal fireworks will be cited and fined up to $1,000. Roseville fire officials recently seized 200 pounds of illegal fireworks during a routine vehicle stop on Interstate 80. The driver of the vehicle could face felony charges and a fine of up to $5,000 or a year in a state prison. Even shooting off “legal” fireworks becomes illegal after midnight on the fourth, Mathisen said. While the use of fireworks is legal in many Placer county neighborhoods, it is illegal in unincorporated regions including Granite Bay, Loomis and El Dorado Hills. “It can be very confusing because you can buy fireworks on one corner but it’s illegal to set them off just across the street,” said South Placer Fire Marshal Lawrence Bettencourt. “It all has to do with city limits and in Granite Bay, they’re illegal.” It wasn’t until a chaotic Independence Day in the late ’90s when Bettencourt said more than 70 fires were reported that the town of Granite Bay put a stop to fireworks. “It was crazy and we just had to do something for the safety of the residents and their property,” Bettencourt said. Now Bettencourt suggests those interested in setting off fireworks do their homework on where the city limits are before celebrating. “The first time we head out for a report it will typically be a warning and education that they’re illegal,” Bettencourt said.