The snap, crackle, pop and boom of fireworks can be heard throughout the Neosho area and the nation as citizens celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
Mike Eads, Neosho fire chief, provides some tips on keeping your Independence Day holiday celebrations safe and independent from injury and property destruction.
Upon purchase of your fireworks, Eads advised to store them in safe, secure place.
“Keep them away from any flammables and combustibles,” Eads said. “Keep them stored in a place where small children can not get to them while unattended by an adult.”
He said the packaging and labeling of fireworks is enticing to children.
Before shooting off fireworks, Eads said to make sure of your surroundings, including weather conditions.
“If it’s really dry out with lot of dead grass, hay, be aware of anything that fireworks get into and start a fire,” he said. “Look at your surroundings that way.”
He said to make sure the fireworks are age-appropriate for those designated to shoot them off.
“Don’t let the little ones do it unattended and they really don’t need to be handling the fireworks in their hands, they need to place it on the ground and light it and get away,” the fire chief said. “Use a punk so you’ve got that little bit of a distance, too, and not right there in your hand.”
Never begin shooting off fireworks without a garden hose or a bucket of water at the ready.
“It’s always good to have in case you start a fire, you might be able to put some water on it pretty quick and get it put out,” Eads said.
He noted that anything going up into the air should be shot from a flat surface.
“If it’s angled a little bit it could cause the tube to tip over, especially if it’s the type that has multiple discharges. That first discharge may go off and then knock it over and from there it’s going sideways into the crowd or into a house or anything like that.”
First and foremost, Eads said to be considerate of your neighbors and surroundings.
“Think about the wind conditions.” He asked, “Are they going to blow the smoke or the firework back in toward structures or dry areas like hay or hay barns?”
Eads said the safe distance between fireworks being shot off and onlookers depends upon the fireworks that are being shot.
He noted, “Some of your aerial stuff can go up so high. Generally on your fountains you’re probably safe at 50 feet. A good rule of thumb is if looks to be going in the air 100 feet it would probably be safe to stay 150 feet away from the discharge area. One and a half times the distance of the firework is probably a safe general rule.”
Little children are often the ones handling those colorful, glistening sparklers; and Eads warned that they are dangerously hot.
He advised, “With metal sparklers for the kids, just always remember that not only is it throwing off sparks, but that metal gets really hot, it could burn them. Have a bucket of water to place those metal sparklers into, that way it cools it down but also keeps it from making contact with anything combustible or flammable.”
Eads said it is also a good idea to throw spent wood sparklers into a bucket of water.
Many times, several small children are dispersed with sparklers at the same time. Eads said to make sure they stay a safe distance from each other.
“It’s going to be a judgment call on how wide of an area the sparks are being thrown off,” he said. “You don’t want them turning, making circles with the sparklers with their hand sticking straight out and hitting somebody, so probably three to four feet minimum.”
Eads said the Neosho community has generally been pretty safe with fireworks in recent years. He said not many injuries have been reported, and most have been minor burns.
“I think we’ve been fortunate in this area that we haven’t hadn’t had anything worse than that,” he said. “The two best rules to think about are to be considerate of the surroundings, and use common sense.”
Fireworks can be legally attained and fired off within the city limits of Neosho between the dates of June 20 and July 10 each year, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bottle rockets and roman candles are not legal within Neosho city limits.