THE ISSUE: Fireworks safety reminder
OUR VIEW: Leave displays to those who are licensed and trained
As Independence Day nears, so do more frequent booms.
The sound of fireworks and firecrackers can be heard in neighborhoods across La Salle County.
We urge everyone to be cautious and considerate when using fireworks.
First of all, know what's legal and safe.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued its annual press release Tuesday reminding individuals and organizations sponsoring fireworks displays in Illinois to be sure their fireworks vendor has the required state licenses and certificates issued by the IDNR and the Office of the State Fire Marshal prior to their fireworks show.
The Illinois Explosives Act requires anyone who purchases, possesses, uses, transfers, stores or disposes of explosives, including display fireworks, must have an explosives license and explosives storage certificate issued by the IDNR. Licensing and storage requirements administered by the IDNR do not apply to consumer fireworks, which is what most common people utilize.
Consumer fireworks may be purchased and displayed. Handheld fireworks, including fire crackers, roman candles and bottle rockets, are not approved for sale or use in Illinois.
A backyard grand illumination is possible, while maintaining safety.
The cardinal safety rule is to use common sense. Some of the primary fireworks safety tips include:
1. Never allow children to handle fireworks. Only sober adults should handle and ignite the fireworks. A designated shooter, like a designated driver, should be the one in charge of the fireworks.
2. Use in a clear, open space, free from debris and combustibles. Shoot on a hard, flat surface. Keep your audience a safe distance from your launch site and fallout zones. A minimum safe distance should be 30 feet for ground-based items.
3. Have a ready source of water close by. A connected hose is best, but a bucket of water or fire extinguisher will do. Someone should act as the fireman — someone to visually track the burning projectiles down to make sure nothing comes down hot.
4. Do not relight duds. Follow all laws. Use a long-neck butane lighter, punk or pyro torch to light the fireworks. Never put any part of your body over a firework or in its travel path.
For a complete list of fireworks safety tips, go to fireworks.com/fireworks-university/fireworks-safety-tips.
To report an explosives incident or accident concerning display fireworks, the public should contact the IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals, Explosives and Aggregate Division at 217-782-9976 and the OSFM at 217-785-0969.
Additionally, we ask those using fireworks to be considerate of their surroundings. Don't let off loud noises late at night. Be courteous of neighbors who may have PTSD or frightened pets. Pick up any garbage the fireworks may leave.
We hope everyone has safe and happy Independence Day.