Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Fireworks and backyard cookouts will undoubtedly be the order of the day for many people celebrating the Fourth of July holiday this weekend.
If you are putting on the back yard barbecue, please remember a few pointers, say public safety officials. First, ensure your grill is away from structures such as your home. The minimum recommended distance is three feet, according to Battalion Chief Jacob Evans of the Summerville Fire Department. Also, supervise children and keep them away from the grill, he said.
Fireworks are allowed in Summerville and Dorchester County. In Summerville, people can shoot fireworks within the city limits from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day of the year. On the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day the hours are extended until 1 a.m. Fireworks cannot be discharged onto neighboring public or private property without permission from the property owner.
Violations can result in penalties of up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Dorchester County does not have a fireworks ordinance but does have a noise ordinance.
If you do want to put on your own fireworks display, please take proper precautions, Evans said.
“If you decide to shoot fireworks, try to make sure you’re safely away from any homes or structures,” Evans said. “Try to do it in an open space, such as a parking lot, well away from the house.”
Significantly more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than any other time of the year – and more than half of those are caused by fireworks, Evans said. In fact, about 1,000 home structure fires a year are caused by fireworks, he said.
Also, be very careful to supervise children, he said.
“It’s interesting, people think sparklers are safe and often let smaller children use them, but sparklers actually burn very hot, at between 1,000 and 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit,” he said.
Two of five people injured by fireworks are children under 15 years of age, he noted. In fact, the highest injury statistics are for individuals between the ages of 5 and 9 and 15 and 19, he said.
“What the fire department recommends is to go enjoy the Town’s Fourth of July event and fireworks show at Gahagan Park,” Evans said. “It’s a great family event and it’s free.”