Local authorities urge firework safety as Fourth of July approaches
As people gear up for Fourth of July celebrations, local authorities are reminding residents on how to safely use fireworks.
Currently, there are few restrictions on firework usage in Michigan, but there are specific times people can set them off.
The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act was amended in 2018 to allow local governments to restrict the days and times that fireworks can be set off through local ordinances. However, even if local governments decide to restrict the times, state law says from June 29 to July 4, people must be allowed to light fireworks from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.
Michigan has been dealing with dry conditions throughout the summer, but has seen some precipitation throughout the past few days.
Even with the rain, Lake County Sheriff Richard Martin said people should still be cautious with fireworks because of the dry conditions the state has experienced.
“Just because it rained once or twice doesn't negate the ability or the potential risk of having a wildland fire or grass fire,” Martin said. “So a lot of people have a false sense that, you know, if it rains one time, we're going to be okay for the next week. Unfortunately, if it rains one day but doesn't rain for another three or four days, you're still going to have those dry conditions.”
Similarly, Big Rapids Police Department Sgt. William Sell said the main thing to watch is the weather in Big Rapids and refrain from setting off fireworks if it is extremely dry.
“The main thing is to watch the weather,” Sell said. “If it's dry, then I wouldn't suggest using them, or at least make sure that you have a bucket of water and a hose nearby.”
Martin asked people to follow a few safety tips, including setting them off in an open area, having a bucket of water nearby and to not be intoxicated while working with fireworks.
Martin also urged people to not let children set off fireworks and to always have adult supervision.
“It's important not to let younger children let off fireworks,” Martin said. “I mean, if you feel that they are at a certain age, that their responsible with adult supervision, then that would be okay, but not to leave them alone and not to give them fireworks.”
In previous years, Martin and Sell both said they have not seen many incidents surrounding fireworks in Lake County and Big Rapids areas around the Fourth of July.
“Fortunately, we haven't received really any fires that have started that I recall from firework usage. Usually, people are pretty responsible for that,” Martin said.
Sell said his department receives more calls concerning noise complaints compared to people getting injured from fireworks.