Chippewa County issues firework safety warning ahead of Independence Day

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- For those looking to have an explosive Fourth of July the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department has a safety reminder.

The sheriff's department says while they may be fun fireworks can also be dangerous.

It's reminding those who purchase them to only light one item at a time and to move back quickly, never carry them in a pocket, to light them on smooth flat surfaces away from buildings or flammable materials and to keep a bucket of water or hose handy just in case.

Eau Claire mother Bethany Cross says because the tradition can be dangerous she makes sure her kids know which fireworks are safer for them to use.

“They explain it really well when we buy the fireworks which ones go in the ground and which ones are handheld so that's really nice,” said Cross.

The sheriff's department says any firework that explodes or leaves the ground needs to be used with a permit issued by local government.

Firework tent operator Jackson Sedivy said buyers often have safety concerns once they pick up their permit and come in to purchase fireworks.

Sedivy explained, “A lot of people have concerns about their trees, like shooting fireworks up in the air. They're worried that they'll light their trees on fire. We have a lot of smaller fireworks though. We have fountains that will stay on the ground so they won't light trees on fire.”

According to the Department of Health Services in 2015 11 Wisconsinites were hospitalized and 108 injured due to firework related injuries.

Sedivy added, “There have been a lot of stories where people blow their hands off but if you follow the labels and use them how they're supposed to be used then you can be safe with them.”

Non-explosive devices like sparklers that don't exceed 36 inches don't require a permit but the department says since they can burn at temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees parents should still supervise all firework activities

The department also says to remember if a firework fizzles and doesn't ignite, douse it with water, and don't relight it.

The department reminds parents there are safe alternative to fireworks like flashing LED lights and glow sticks.

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