Firefighters urge extreme caution when using fireworks

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento area has seen an average of one serious fire a day in recent weeks. And when fireworks go on sale at noon on Saturday, fire agencies start their busiest week of the fire season.

"We're seeing fires daily," Sacramento Metro Fire spokesperson Michelle Eidam said. "We all know that, so what we want people to hear clearly is, enjoy the fireworks but be really, really smart about them."

Eidam points out that safe and sane fireworks are illegal for anyone under 18 to use.

"Because of the fire danger. There's a million reasons, but that's a hard and fast rule," Eidam said. "Parents will be cited, parents can be cited."

Eidam said safe and sane fireworks should never be modified and or used more than one at a time. Fireworks that are not safe and sane are easily recognized, she said.

"They can explode, they fly up in the sky, we've all seen them in shows, and they send sparks flying more than 12-feet," Eidam explained. "That's what makes them illegal."

If kids get their hands on safe and sane fireworks and cause fire or injury, parents can pay the consequences.

"Parents can be liable for damages, for injuries," Eidam said. "If there's something done, even in a modification of a safe and sane firework, and there's an injury or a burn or you burn down a house, they're liable for the damages."

Eidam said fireworks should be used on an even surface like a safe section of a street or cul de sac. A back patio that is not covered can be another safe place to use fireworks.

People should also have a bucket to put expended fireworks in and a hose nearby in case something catches on fire.

Eidam said illegal fireworks come in to California by the truckload before the 4th of July and that the penalties for selling and using them can run to felonies that may carry prison time.

Eidam suggests there is one good rule to always remember before lighting a fuse.

"If it looks at all likely to cause a fire, it's not the place to be."


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