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Use Common Sense When Shooting Fireworks this Fourth of July

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and many residents around the Ark-La-Tex will be shooting off everything from roman candles to artillery shells. Here are some things to remember when shooting fireworks.

You just can’t take too many precautions when using fireworks. You must respect the fact that fireworks can (and do) injure people, start fires and can completely ruin a perfectly good day when not used safely.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it’s awfully dry out there. Every single county in Arkansas is now under a burn ban, including Miller County. Judge Burgess says fireworks are allowed in the county with a few exceptions. NO nighttime parachutes, NO missiles or rockets of any type and NO flares.

Choose an area to shoot off your fireworks that’s a good, safe distance from spectators (50 feet or more!).

Make sure the area doesn’t have any trees or power lines overhead.

Rake the area thoroughly. Rake it again, then rake it again just for good measure. Seriously, rake it and remove all loose tender from your shooting area.

Once you’re finished raking, get the water house out and soak the entire area you’re going to be shooting from. I choose my shooting spot weeks in advance and try to keep that area watered for a good week before my planned shoot. The day of the shoot, before you lay your fireworks out, go ahead and soak it again.

Make sure you have a water hose and/or a bucket of water close by. A rake and a shovel as well.

Ok, we have a safe shooting area… can we shoot em now?? Not yet.

I like to lay them all out, then go back and brace them.

Before firing, All fireworks should be braced. The last thing you want is for a firework to fall over while it’s going off. I brace everything. Especially artillery shells and the smaller cakes (I’ve seen these tip over while firing and it’s not fun. Don’t risk it!!). Find some bricks and place them on each side of the firework before you light it.

Before you light a firework, double check the package to make sure it’s not supposed to be facing a certain way when you set it off.

When lighting fireworks, never light it while your face is above it. This should be common sense, but I’ve seen it time and time again. There’s no guarantee when you light that fuse you’ll have time to move out of the way. Play it safe and make sure you’re leaning away from the firework when you’re lighting it.

Never try to relight a “dud”. If a firework doesn’t go off, wait 20 minutes then soak it in water.

Drunk people make terrible fireworks shooters.

Children have absolutely NO business shooting off artillery shells, large cakes or fountains (or teens for that matter). If you’re going to allow your kids to light off a few fireworks, choose SMALL items and make sure you instruct them to NEVER light a firework while their face is above it. Lean, light and get back. Children should ALWAYS be supervised when shooting fireworks.

Please, please, please don’t hand your kids a bag of fireworks and allow them to shoot them unsupervised.

Ok, I think I’ve covered just about everything I can think of. Have a safe and fun Fourth of July!!

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