Fireworks for the Fourth

Volunteers at fireworks stand and city officials encourage residents to use fireworks safely this Independence Day.

Volunteers from Kiwanis

Mercer Island community groups – Kiwanis, the Masonic Lodge and VFW – sell “safe and sane” fireworks every year, raising money and hoping to keep Islanders from purchasing illegal fireworks.

Volunteers the organizations pass out flyers with safety tips and information with every fireworks purchase.

One reads, “fireworks are as American as apple pie, but more fires are reported on that day than any other day of the year. More than half of these fires are caused by fireworks. The good news is you can enjoy fireworks, with just a few simple safety tips.”

Firework users are encouraged to keep pets safe and indoors, have a water bucket and hose handy, protect their eyes, soak used fireworks in water, keep matches away from children and not to let kids light fireworks.

Make sure to light fireworks on a flat surface, read the instructions, stay 20 feet away from discharging fireworks and stop, drop and roll if hit by fireworks or sparks. Do not put warm, used fireworks in plastic bags, but make sure to clean up all debris and put it into a metal trash can.

For more tips on firework safety, go to http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm.

According to the city website, some parts of King County are already very dry due to the early hot weather. The King County Fire Chiefs Association is now urging residents to attend a planned event instead of launching their own fireworks.

Islanders can attend the fireworks show at Summer Celebration at 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 11 at Luther Burbank Park.

Residents who want to use personal fireworks should know these guidelines:

  • Only purchase fireworks from legal consumer firework establishments.
  • Fireworks may be purchased on Mercer Island only between the dates of June 28 and July 4.
  • The discharge of legal fireworks on Mercer Island is allowed on only one day: July 4, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Fireworks are prohibited in public parks except as part of a duly authorized public firework display and are not allowed on school property or at school sponsored events.
  • Visually inspect all fireworks and make sure they look “safe and sane” to use. If fireworks look altered/illegal/unsafe, call 911 and have the Fire Department or Police Department inspect them.

The Mercer Island Fire Department sent out a press release on July 1 addressing the state-wide drought, burn ban and extreme heat.

“You are encouraged to be proactive in planning to stay safe in the heat and take appropriate measures to protect your health and homes,” the release states. “Extreme caution is advised for anyone using personal fireworks.”

A fire/safety burn ban is went into effect for King County on June 22, and applies to all outdoor burning except for small recreational fires. See more at waburnbans.net.

Weather advisories and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service (www.weather.gov). The City reminds residents that the air-conditioned Community and Event Center is open to all visitors during hot weather, however it is scheduled to be closed for the holiday (unless an emergency is declared) on both Friday July 3, and Saturday July 4.

 

 

 

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