Independence Day is one of the best celebrations of the summer. The parades, barbecues and fireworks are a total blast (pun intended).
But with all that fun at your disposal, the Waukee Fire Department wants to remind you to be smart, use common sense and be safe this July 4th holiday, especially when using fireworks.
In Iowa, most fireworks are illegal. Things like sparklers, poppers and snakes are the only legal fireworks here at home.
Tomme Tysdal, a firefighter with the Waukee Fire Department, said using these consumer fireworks still requires common sense.
"Iowa has pretty strict laws when it comes to fireworks," he said. "A lot of people get hurt when they don't pay attention to what they're doing."
Tysdal said the fire department will be on high alert the next couple days particularly because of dry conditions. Any little spark could ignite a grass fire, he warned.
"With sparklers, especially, you need to have water handy," he said. "When you're done, put them in a bucket of water. It's very dry out right now and that could easily start a grass fire."
Other tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
- Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
- Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter."
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
- Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
To guarantee a safe fireworks display this Fourth of July, come to Centennial Park Wednesday night around dusk. Bring yourself and lawn chair and enjoy the display.