Fireworks safety paramount

With the Fourth of July weekend approaching the city of Marshalltown would like to remind everyone that only certain types of fireworks are authorized for use within the state of Iowa. Permitted fireworks include snakes, sparklers and caps. Many types of legal fireworks are available for purchase through local retail stores.

Even though some fireworks are legal and safe to use, most manufactured fireworks are illegal in the state of Iowa. Illegal fireworks include bottle rockets, fire crackers, Roman candles, smoke bombs and balls, thumb snaps or any firework that may explode or be launched or flown through the air.

Those caught setting off illegal fireworks may be charged with a simple misdemeanor infraction resulting in a maximum penalty of $625 or 30 days in jail in lieu of paying a fine. If property damage or personal injury occurs, the violating party may be held civilly responsible for their actions.

Throughout our area, there will be public fireworks displays to attend. If you choose to light your own, please use them in a safe location away from flammable materials, clear of structures, trees, dry leaves, grass and other foliage.

If you are lighting fireworks this season, here are a few preparation and safety tips:

Always read and follow label directions.

Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.

Never set off fireworks while under the influence of alcohol.

Always have an adult present.

Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water or hose nearby in case of accidents.

Light only one at a time.

Never re-ignite a dud-firework.

Never give fireworks to small children.

Never carry fireworks in your pocket – the friction could set them off.

Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.

Never throw fireworks or point fireworks at someone.

Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances.

Soak fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash.

Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

Parents should pay special attention to children using sparklers. Sparklers reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees F. Children should not touch the lit portion of sparklers, throw them, or play games with them.

Scott Johnson is the acting fire chief of the Marshalltown Fire Department. Contact him at 641-754-5751