Local officials ask caution when handling fireworks
Posted: 06/21/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Sharon Hernandez
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Brandon Robertson who runs World's Cheapest Fireworks in Osceola at Old U.S. 20 and County Line Road works on a display of fire works Wednesday afternoon. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo)
World's Cheapest Fireworks in Osceola at Old U.S. 20 and County Line Road has a large display of fireworks under a tent. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo)
Fireworks stacked up on a table at World's Cheapest Fireworks in Osceola at Old U.S. 20 and County Line Road. (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo)
But officials ask consumers to take caution when using fireworks to avoid property damage or personal injuries.
Since Indiana law was modified in 2006, consumer fireworks are now legally permitted to be sold in the state. But along with adding a larger variety of fireworks available for purchase, the state also placed penalties for any violations of fireworks laws.
Under Indiana state law, only individuals of 18 years and older can purchase fireworks, and anyone younger can be in possession of a firework as long as it’s under the supervision of an adult.
State law also says fireworks may be burnt in the property of the person using them or on the property of someone who had granted them permission.
In Elkhart County, as well as the city of Elkhart and the city of Goshen, further restrictions apply:
• In the summer, fireworks may only be discharged between June 29 and July 9 between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset
• On the Fourth of July, the hours to use fireworks are between 10 a.m. and midnight
Penalties for violations related to improper use of fireworks can range from a citation for discharging fireworks at an unauthorized property to a class C felony for intentionally killing a person with fireworks, which would result in imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Injuries and fires
Tony Hartman, emergency medical services educator at Elkhart General Hospital, said though EMS does not see many people injured as a result of fireworks, he does see an increase around this time of the year.
“Burns from fireworks are probably the most common form of injury, but also debris being sprayed on somebody and causing puncture wounds from that,” he said.
Brandon Robertson, owner of World’s Cheapest Fireworks on the corner of Old U.S. 20 and West County Line Road, said the best advice he can give consumers is to have common sense and follow the instructions appropriately as listed on the side of the fireworks they buy.
“Every year we hear stories of people who blow up their hands, because they don’t follow instructions or try to fix the fireworks,” he said.
A countywide burn ban went into effect on Friday and will go until Monday, with the chance of it being extended for longer. Although residents are not prohibited from using fireworks during the burn ban, fire officials are asking caution when using fireworks.
William Weimer, vice president at Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, and Shaun Edgerton, assistant chief of operations at the Elkhart Fire Department, shared additional advice on proper ways to handle fireworks:
• Do not relight duds
• Use a long-neck butane lighter to light the fireworks
• Never put any part of your body over a firework or in its travel path
• Make sure to have a bucket of water ready while burning fireworks
• Create a safe distance between bystanders to avoid injuries
• Keep away from areas that are dry, and instead move to a flat surface, such as an empty, paved parking lot