Shopping for safe fireworks: What you need to know

Now that all fireworks are legal in Michigan, it doesn't necessarily mean they are all safe. That's one thing to take into consideration when buying fireworks this Fourth of July holiday.

Names like "Absolute Power" and "The Big Bang" may sound like some really cool fireworks, but if you are not careful with how you use them and where you use them, it can have the potential for disaster.

"Some of these are the same things Civil War soldiers shot at each other back then," said Pat Riney, a West Bloomfield Township Fire Marshal. "It's the same technology without the shrapnel, but it's the same explosive device they used."

It's not just your safety you need to be worried about when shooting off fireworks, but it's also keeping others around you safe, too.

Riney advised residents who live subdivisions or cul-de-sacs to stay away from any fireworks that shoot up in the sky, such as rockets or mortars, because you are responsible for every flame and spark you set off, no matter where it falls.

"You're shooting flaming balls into the air and they can come down, igniting the top of a roof," he said.

Laws have also changed since last year. Penalties can now be as high as a felony for those who injure others or set someone's property ablaze with fireworks.

If you want to play it safe but still get that big boom, Matt Covey, a Waterford Regional Fire Marshal, recommends sticking with the cakes.

"They're in a nice box and are weighted, so they are meant to stay on the ground or a flat level surface," Covey said.

In addition, other fireworks that are safe to be lit off on the ground should either be placed on cement or on damp, not dry grass to prevent a fire hazard.

To avoid all the safety hazards, maybe purchasing hand-held fireworks like sparklers are a better idea? Although they may seem like a safer option, they are actually the leading cause of injury for kids when it comes to fireworks, and it continues to be on the rise.

"They can get as hot as 1,200 degrees," said Covey. "When the flame gets to the end, kids tend to grab the metal, not realizing it is still hot"

--not to mention any clothing that can catch fire and sparks that can shoot into their eyes.

"It's good advice to know where to shoot and not shoot the fireworks," said Tommy Hipple, a local dad shopping for fireworks. "Of course my kids will be a safe distance away, but it's always a good thing to hear again, especially right before lighting them off the next day."

Parents should base what kind of fireworks they buy not on their kid's age, but their maturity level.

Even though the combo packs seem really exciting, the fire marshals suggest buying singular fireworks and taking a look at what's around your home to determine what fireworks will work best for you and your community.

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