DETROIT -

As the 4th of July holiday approaches, State Fire Marshal Richard Miller urges Michiganders to adhere to strict safety measures and take precautions when using fireworks, especially during the continuing dry and hot weather across Michigan.

“Safety and adult supervision is critically important whether you’re celebrating with sparklers or the larger, more powerful legalized fireworks,” said Miller. “Any small spark or misfire can lead to an out-of-control situation where people can easily sustain severe injuries or unintentionally start fast-spreading fires that can lead to loss of life and property.”

Miller said there are an increasing number of reports of firework-related incidents: people in critical condition after fireworks detonated in their faces; fire damaging or destroying homes and garages that started with unsupervised children setting off bottle rockets with hot embers falling onto dry leaves and starting fires.

“Although fireworks and celebrations go together, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries,” said Miller. “You can prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths by promoting fireworks safety where you live and during your family and neighborhood celebrations.”

So what can you do to stay safe when using fireworks?  Here are some important fireworks safety tips:

- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Always purchase your fireworks from an authorized retailer.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the proper use of your device.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper as this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person, animals, houses, trees or shrubs.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act:

·  Prohibits a person from using consumer fireworks or low-impact fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
·  Prohibits consumer fireworks on public, school, church or private property of another person without that organization’s or person’s express permission. To do so, in violation of the law may result in a civil fine of up to $500.
·  Prohibits consumer fireworks on public, school, church or private property of another person without that organization’s or person’s express permission. To do so, in violation of the law may result in a civil fine of up to $500.
·  When fire-related incidents involve consumer, low impact, or illegal fireworks resulting in property damage, injury or death of another person, individuals are subject to being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony punishable by imprisonment (of not more than five to 15 years), and/or fines (ranging up to $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000), depending upon the severity of the crime.

A list of legal consumer fireworks, legal low impact fireworks, and novelties can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/fireworks_381040_7.pdf . To learn more about fireworks safety, the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act, or to find state-certified fireworks retailers, go to the Bureau of Fire Services website at www.michigan.gov/bfs.