Chesterton Tribune

Kids and fireworks don't mix; local ordinances restrict usage

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With the Independence Day holiday weekend starting today, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding citizens that fireworks can be dangerous, especially when handled by children, and is encouraging fireworks’ consumers to follow a few common sense safety tips to help keep the festivities safe.

“On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day,” Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson said. “Half of these fires are caused by the mishandling of fireworks and result in millions of dollars in property damage. Consumers should always use fireworks responsibly to avoid potential injuries to themselves, spectators and firefighters.”

The Indiana Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Fireworks and Children

According to the National Fire Protection Association, two out of five people injured by fireworks are under the age of 15, and children aged 10-14 are the most at risk from fireworks. Compared with the general population, they are more than twice as likely to be injured.

Despite their seemingly relative harmlessness, sparklers and small firecrackers cause the most fireworks-related injuries. Sparklers burn at about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, 300 degrees hotter than the temperature at which glass melts. Glow sticks or glow sparklers make an excellent alternative to sparklers, especially for young children.

General Fireworks Safety

•Only purchase and light 1.4G Class C consumer fireworks. Examples include bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers.

•Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.

•Do not alter any fireworks device or attempt to make your own fireworks.

•Use a clear, open area and keep your audience a safe distance from the ignition site.

•Light one firework item at a time and never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.

•Never let children handle, play with, or light any fireworks.

•Have a fire extinguisher, hose, bucket of water or other water source nearby.

•Be cautious when lighting fireworks when it is windy.

•Never smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while handling fireworks.

•Never aim, point, or throw fireworks at another person.

•Use fireworks outdoors, never indoors.

Local, County Ordinances

The fireworks ordinances enacted several years ago by the towns of Chesterton, Burns Harbor, and Dune Acres, the City of Portage, and by the Porter County Commissioners—the latter governing the use of fireworks in unincorporated parts of the county—are far more restrictive than state law.

Under those ordinances, consumer fireworks may not be used or discharged at all except during the following times on the following days:

•From 5 p.m. to two hours after sunset on June 29-30 and on July 1-3 and 5-9.

•From 10 a.m. to midnight on July 4.

•Between the hours of 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. on Jan. 1.

The fines for violating these ordinance vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction:

•In Chesterton, Burns Harbor, and Dune Acres, the fine is $100.

•In unincorporated Porter County, the fine is $250.

 

 

 

Posted 7/1/2011

 

 

 

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