MOREHEAD CITY — Neal Stetson of Mill Creek was in search of fireworks Tuesday at one of the stands set up in Carteret County this week for Fourth of July celebrations.
“I have six grandkids coming and I need to get a mix of things for the them to enjoy,” he said as he browsed through a large assortment of fireworks at the TNT stand near Lowe’s Home Improvement in Morehead City. “They like the really big ones.”
As visitors and residents prepare for backyard Fourth of July celebrations with fireworks Sunday, officials encourage them to keep safety in mind.
“When using consumer approved fireworks, adult supervision should always occur in an outside open area,” County Fire Marshal Eddie Lewis said. “Adults in charge should have an adequate water supply such as a bucket of water.”
Mr. Lewis added it’s important to be mindful of wind and weather conditions. He further said professional fireworks require permits.
As for fireworks that are permissible for home celebrations, Mr. Lewis said they are generally classified as sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks. Items that do not explode or are not intended to spin or leave the ground and fly through the air are legal. If it’s purchased from a vendor in North Carolina, it should be legal, according to Mr. Lewis.
Fireworks items that are not legal in North Carolina include firecrackers, ground spinners, Roman candles, rockets, including bottle rockets, and mortars. Fireworks from surrounding states are not legal in North Carolina.
If purchasing fireworks from a vendor, state law requires the purchaser to be at least 16 years old. A violation of fireworks laws is classified as a misdemeanor, which may be punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months, depending upon the level of violation. The laws cover transport, display, storage, sale, possession and use of fireworks.
If a person decides to set off fireworks, they are liable for any injury, death or destruction of property, under the law.
The National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, recommends allowing small children to use glow sticks instead of sparklers.
Mr. Lewis provided a list of safety tips regarding the use of sparklers:
- Never hold a child in your arms while using a sparkler.
- Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
- Sparkler wire stays hot long after flames have gone out. Be sure to place used sparklers in a bucket of water.
- Stand at least 6 feet away from another person while using sparklers.
- Never wave sparklers or run while holding them.
Here are safety tips when using fireworks:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. The NFPA reports injuries to children ages 10 to 14 years old are twice as high.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back a safe distance immediately after lighting.
- Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that are not fully functioned.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water, water hose and/or fire extinguisher close in case of fire.
- Light one firework at a time and then move away.
- After fireworks fully ignited, douse the spent device with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.