Press-Republican

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July 3, 2013

Safety urged with fireworks

PLATTSBURGH — Local fire officials caution citizens to refrain from using fireworks, which are illegal to both possess or use by anyone other than a licensed professional.

More fires are reported on the Fourth of July than any of day of the year in the United States, according to the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York.

“Leave the fireworks to the professionals and attend a locally sponsored display in your neighborhood,” President Jim Burns advised in a news release.

SPARKLERS A DANGER

Thousands of people are injured while using consumer fireworks every Fourth of July, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Even sparklers can be dangerous, according to the Fireman’s Association.

The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.

“We do get several burns each year from those sparklers,” Plattsburgh City Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Stone said Tuesday. “A lot of injuries to hands and fingers.

“The remnants that fall on their hands, they’ll continue to burn, and they could get a serious burn from that.”

There have been instances where people were in danger of losing a hand as a result of using sparklers or other firecrackers, Stone said.

“And eyesight is another concern.”

Burns to the face can affect the eyes and cause vision problems, he said.

CITY PRECAUTIONS

Each year, the City of Plattsburgh hires a professional company to execute a safe and fun fireworks display, Stone said.

“As far as the safety of the people that are there, that’s (the set-off location) going to be remote enough and the explosives are going to be sent over the lake, so there’s not going to be any issues,” Stone said.

As a precaution, the City Fire Department sends a fire truck that will be parked near where the fireworks will be set off.

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