Rhinelander fire chief offers tips to play it safe this Fourth of JulySubmitted: 06/29/2016
RHINELANDER - Celebrating our nation's birthday with cookouts and fireworks can make for a great Fourth of July weekend with friends and family.

But it's good to keep safety in mind this weekend too.

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to a few fireworks-related injuries every year. But that number is still far better than the national average of more than 10,000 fireworks injuries.

Oddly, the most common injury actually comes from a firework many parents consider safe.

"Believe it or not, sparklers, the thing that everybody gets for their kids, are the No. 1 injury-producing firework there is, and typically it's a burn injury to the hand," said Rhinelander Fire Department Chief Terry Williams.

Many accidents and fires can be prevented.

We've had a lot of rain lately, so the grass isn't as dry as it could be. But it's still important to light fireworks in safe places like a gravel area or your driveway.

"If you live on a very quiet street, you know, right in the curb line where your driveway meets the curb," Williams said. "You know, just that type of surface is certainly much safer for the sparks and you know the flames that fireworks put out."

If you buy sparklers or set off fireworks at home, always keep a close eye on kids.

You also don't want to ruin the fun by getting a ticket for illegal fireworks. Local ordinances for fireworks vary by community, but there's also a statewide law.

"To put it easy, anything that leaves the ground or explodes, so anything that goes up in the air or goes bang, is illegal without a permit," Williams said.

Sparklers and fountains are fine, but if you want to launch fireworks, you'll need a permit.

Those permits require a signature from either the head of your municipality, like the mayor or town chair, or the fire chief.

"The City of Rhinelander will not sign off on that for a private party, so if you're buying fireworks from a place that gives you a permit, you know that's still not a valid permit without those officials' signatures," Williams said.

To save the hassle and money, you should check with your town before buying any fireworks.

Story By: Anthony DaBruzzi

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