Fire mar­shal urges res­i­dents to at­tend pub­lic fire­work dis­plays

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— The time for fire­works is right around the cor­ner, but State Fire Mar­shal Brian Geraci is urg­ing peo­ple to at­tend pub­lic dis­plays of fire­works rather than at­tempt to set off fire­works them­selves.

“I would highly sug­gest the safest way to en­joy fire­works is to at­tend one of the many pub­lic fire­works dis­plays through­out the state,” Geraci said in a press re­lease.

In Mary­land, it is il­le­gal to use fire­works that go into the air, make a loud noise or move on the ground. Fire­works that are ground-based, such as sparklers, snap pop­pers and black snakes are le­gal.

If caught with il­le­gal fire­works, peo­ple are sub­ject to ci­ta­tion that re­quires a manda­tory court ap­pear­ance, a $250 fine per il­le­gal fire­work and con­fis­ca­tion of the il­le­gal fire­works.

Be­tween 2008 and 2015, 153 fire­work-re­lated fires were re­ported in the state, with prop­erty dam­age cost­ing around $1.4 mil­lion, said Deputy Bruce Bouch, spokesper­son for the Of­fice of the Mary­land State Fire

ELK­TON

Mar­shal. Those fig­ures are just the re­ported fires, and there are likely more fires not re­ported, he noted.

Although fire­works are beau­ti­ful, vi­brant and fun to set off, there are safety con­cerns, even with le­gal fire­works. Bouch said in­juries re­sult­ing from fire­works in­clude hand, eye and facial in­juries, some­times lead­ing to per­ma­nent dam­age. Last year, New York Giants de­fen­sive end Ja­son An­drew Pierre-Paul was one such high-pro­file case, when he tried to throw a lit fire­work which ex­ploded in­stead, per­ma­nently sev­er­ing his right in­dex fin­ger and ex­ten­sively dam­ag­ing the rest of his hand.

Bouch also ad­vised that sparklers, when ig­nited, can reach tem­per­a­tures be­tween 1,200 and 2,000 de­grees, which could cause burn in­juries, cause cloth­ing to catch fire and, if held close enough to the eyes, cause ir­re­versible cornea dam­age.

If you choose to use per­sonal fire­works, Bouch asked that peo­ple take nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions.

“If you do choose to use le­gal fire­works, have wa­ter on hand,” he said.

He said peo­ple should have a bucket of wa­ter nearby to put out the fire­work af­ter it is spent and should pour wa­ter on the fire­work be­fore dis­posal, which will help to en­sure there is no po­ten­tial for a fire. Also, buy fire­works in the area they are in­tended to be used, he said. Ven­dors in the county are only sell­ing those that are le­gal for use in the county.

There were no fire­work-re­lated in­ci­dents re­ported in the county for 2015, said Michelle Lloyd, emer­gency pre­pared­ness man­ager for Ce­cil County De­part­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices.

”Ab­so­lutely, we rec­om­mend that cit­i­zens go to a show,” she added. “We don’t rec­om­mend back­yard fire­works.”

The county has three lo­ca­tions where pub­lic fire­work shows will take place.

Ch­e­sa­peake City will dis­play fire­works at Pell Gar­dens around 9 p.m. Satur­day, while North East will have fire­works at the North East Com­mu­nity Park around 9:15 p.m. Sun­day and Elk­ton will host a fire­works show at Meadow Park start­ing at 9 p.m. Mon­day.

For a com­plete list of fire­work dis­plays through­out the state, visit www.mdsp.org/fire­mar­shal.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

As peo­ple are gear­ing up for the July 4 week­end, peo­ple are urged to see pro­fes­sional fire­work shows rather than create their own fire­work shows.

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