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Local police urge caution in using holiday fireworks

HOUGHTON – The Houghton Police Department is reminding people to be careful while using fireworks when enjoying Independence Day festivities.

Houghton Police Lt. Nick Roberts advises having fun but using precautions when handling and setting off fireworks.

“We have small towns here. If you shoot a firework off from your property, chances are it’s not going to fall on your property,” Roberts said. “In town, they fall on roofs, they fall on leave piles, I’ve seen fires started in town here that have gotten out of hand.”

Roberts said there are different types of fireworks, ranging from novelty fireworks to consumer fireworks, all of which carry their own risks.

“Consumer fireworks are the ones that shoot up in the air and go ‘bang,'” Roberts said. These include missile-type rockets, reloadable shell devices, sky rockets and bottle rockets.

Low-impact fireworks are the ones that stay on the ground, Roberts said, and include handheld sparklers, sparkling wheel devices, sparkler trees, and similar devices. Those classified as novelties include sparkling devices, party poppers, snakes and drop pops.

Roberts advises those who are going to use fireworks to keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, or a hose nearby to minimize the risk of fire or injury. Low-impact and novelty fireworks should be placed in a bucket of water to ensure they are no longer burning internally.

“The ones that shoot up in the air, I would follow them to see where they’re going to go,” Roberts suggested. “If they’re up in the air, you don’t know where they’re going to fall after you shoot them off.”

The police, Roberts said, would greatly appreciate people not using fireworks on a dry day, to avoid risk of fire. To determine the danger, he advises consulting the Department of Natural Resources webpage.

“If they indicate on the site it’s a no (burn) permit day, that’s a pretty good indication that it’s dry out, and they shouldn’t shoot off fireworks.”

The police, Roberts said, recommend always leaving consumer fireworks to professionals, because they are the most difficult to manage, handle, and keep track of.

“The biggest thing is, we just want people to be safe,” Roberts said. “Enjoy the festivities. We have a lot of pyrotechnics – fireworks, a lot of parades going on. Have fun. Be safe, not sorry.”

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