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Officials stress safety when handling fireworks

July 03, 2020
REGION — With most town-sponsored fireworks displays cancelled this year due to social distancing concerns, police and fire officials in the region are sending out safety reminders in hopes that people will be not only keep themselves and all around them safe, but be considerate of pets as well when it comes to lighting off fireworks over both the holiday and the summer weeks to come.

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier reported that last year at this time there were 10,000 injuries and 12 fireworks-related deaths in the United States, 73-percent of them occurring between June 21 and July 21. Animal shelters, he added, also saw a spike in lost or stray animals during that time.

"Fireworks can cause stress on animals, causing them to run away to avoid the loud noise, shake for hours, or try to find a place to hide," Cormier said.

He asks that all who look to enjoy fireworks this summer keep not only anxious pets but people, homes and property in mind through the following precautions.

First of all, those who purchase fireworks or other incendiary devices should ignite them only on flat surfaces and remain distanced from buildings, dry leaves and any other flammable materials in the area.

"A lot of times fireworks can head off unexpectedly in another direction and cause injury or a fire, so people should look all around them before they ignite any," Cormier said.

Safety officials also remind adults that children should never be allowed to play with or ignite any fireworks. Even seemingly harmless sparkers can burn at temperatures up to 2,000-degrees Fahrenheit; hot enough to melt some metals.

Tilton-Northfield Fire Department, as well as other area Fire and EMS departments, also recommend that people keep a bucket of water or a hose available in the event that any mishaps occur. Among their other safety tips are to light only one firework device at a time and never try to relight any that have malfunctioned; soak those thoroughly in water then throw them away.

Other safety advice they offer is that, when lighting fireworks of any kind, people should not have any part of their body exposed above the device then move immediately away from the area once one is lit.

"Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone," officials also advised, "and douse the spent devises with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire."

Above and beyond that, residents should also inquire as to whether or not fireworks are even legal in the town they reside in, and if so, only purchase fireworks labeled for consumer (not professional) use. In many communities there are also noise ordinances, prohibiting the use of fireworks after a set time that both residents and visitors should be aware of prior to their celebrations.

Residents of Tilton can find more information on their local town ordinance at www.tiltonnh.org/content/ords-regs/fireworks. Regulations and information for most other area towns can also be found on their websites, or residents can contact their local police or fire department with any questions or concerns.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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