Keep it safe on the Fourth

July 1, 2010

By Contributor

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Everybody loves fireworks. Seeing the cascading lights flicker through the night sky just makes people ooh and ah, whether this is the first display they’ve seen or the 50th.

Besides the big fireworks shows going on around the region, including, of course, the Old-Fashioned 4th of July at Lake Boren Park, many people also like to set off their own smaller displays — allowing for the other American activity of ignoring a law you don’t like.

Yes, indeed, fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Newcastle. King County has no such restrictions, which is why you can still purchase the contraband just a few steps outside the city.

Don’t confuse being allowed to buy it with being allowed to set it off. Within Newcastle, there are fines for the possession and discharge of fireworks. There is no exception to the law just because it’s the Fourth of July.

That being said, if you or your children want to set off fireworks, at least have some common sense about it. In 2009, 200 firework-related injuries were reported to the Washington State Patrol. There are certainly others that went unreported. Don’t be a statistic in next year’s count.

Fire department officials who will have to deal with the aftermath of irresponsible firework use have a host of tips for staying safe.

Make sure that a sober adult is in charge of the fireworks, and don’t let children light them no matter what. Light them away from trees, buildings and other things that can burn. Keep a hose nearby to douse any that start to spark and a bucket of water for the used fireworks. Keep pets inside; a spooked animal can cause all sorts of other problems. Never relight a dud. And never tamper with or alter a firework after you buy it.

Instead of trying to remember all of that, why not just go to Newcastle’s Old Fashioned Fourth and have a good time with your neighbors. The fireworks will be spectacular (and safe) and the live music by Shelly and the Curves is the best. The music begins at 8 p.m. followed by fireworks at 10.

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