Safety officials urge fireworks caution

Two of Whidbey’s top emergency responders are urging people to know and follow the rules before lighting off fireworks this Independence Day weekend.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, also the county’s fire marshal, said that unincorporated areas of Island County allow the use of private fireworks between June 28 and July 5. Other than July 4, fireworks may only be discharged between noon and 11 p.m. On Independence Day, July 4, they may be set off from 9 a.m. to midnight.

Brown had six “simple rules” of fireworks safety and regulation: don’t shoot them at others, don’t light them on unstable or uneven ground or objects, don’t lean over them when lighting, don’t discharge Firecrackers, Bottle rockets, sky rockets and missiles outside of tribal land, don’t hold fireworks when discharging, and don’t alter or take apart fireworks.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS Chief Rusty Palmer had a far more dire view of fireworks. In a news release, he said many fires and injuries are associated with fireworks across the country every year, and that his department does not advocate the private use of fireworks.

Adult supervision was a major concern for Palmer, who said small children should never use fireworks. Eye protection is recommended for those using fireworks.

He advised to pick a place far away from something that could be damaged, including animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush and combustible material.

If winds pick up beyond 10 mph, he said aerial fireworks should not be lit.

Fireworks and alcohol don’t mix.

Never ignite fireworks inside another container, such as inside a bottle or can.

Never throw fireworks or aim them at another person, animal or building.

Never place any part of your body, especially your head, over the firework device when lighting. Approach the item from the side and light while keeping your body away from the item.

Never relight malfunctioning fireworks.

If a firework device has been ignited but fails to go off, stay clear of the device for an extended period of time to prevent injury due to delayed activation. Soak the device in water before handling it.

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