Fourth of July safety

When I see the fireworks stands open, I think of all the fires my brother and I unintentionally started over the years.

He and I never burned up any buildings or anything, but we weren’t the safest people when it came to fireworks. My brother had to go running across the field many Fourth-of-July nights, bucket of water in hand, to put out a small blaze.

But our mishaps didn’t always involve starting fires. Sometimes they involved getting out of the way when a roman candle tipped over on the road. I don’t remember when I decided to leave fireworks to the professionals, but it wasn’t soon enough for me.

For this week’s cover story, we talked to volunteers who are helping out with the Paint the Sky on the Fourth of July event in Wolfforth.

The event features a fireworks show lasting about 25 minutes. Volunteers have learned the safest way to set up and light fireworks.

As I said, I prefer to leave the fireworks to the professionals, but if you decide to shoot fireworks at home, please be sure to take precautions and be safe.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers the following tips:

•Use fireworks outdoors only.

•Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them. This includes inside Lubbock and Wolfforth city limits.

•Have water handy. The NCFS suggests having a hose or bucket of water, but from my experience, buckets are better because they are not attached to anything.

•Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter or combine them.

•Never re-light a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. I made this mistake once. Fortunately, I was able to get away quick when it started to go off.

•Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter, and the shooter should wear safety glasses.

•Don’t drink and shoot. If there is drinking during your festivities, be sure to have a designated shooter.

•Only adults and children older than 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any kind.

•Do not use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives — they can kill or seriously injure you. Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department.

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