Fireworks warning: Keep it safe, legal

Don’t let a stray firework turn your Fourth of July into a smoky blaze or a trip to the emergency room.

Fireworks are legal in many parts of Snohomish County, but firefighters want to remind people they also can be dangerous.

Many fireworks burn at 1,000 degrees — twice as hot as a match, Everett Fire Marshal Rick Robinson said.

“As time has gone on, we’ve realized that fireworks are extremely dangerous to people and extremely dangerous to things,” he said.

In Snohomish County last year, there were 17 fireworks-related fires and 35 fireworks-related injuries, Lake Stevens Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

The experts say it’s best to attend a public fireworks display, but if you plan to celebrate at home, keep safety in mind.

Make sure to buy legal fireworks, officials said. Fireworks purchased legally on Indian reservations may be illegal elsewhere. Homemade fireworks are not safe.

Illegal firework possession or use can lead to criminal charges. Some police, including officers in Marysville, plan to increase enforcement this year.

Fireworks can be most dangerous when they malfunction, Robinson said. Manufacturing techniques can vary, and that means faster ignition than someone expects.

“Instead of time for someone to move away from it, or time for it to go up in the air to explode, all of a sudden people are exposed to highly flammable materials right next to them or on them,” he said.

Errant fireworks that go unnoticed can burn down homes and other buildings, Marysville Fire Marshal Tom Maloney said. They also can disfigure faces, take out eyes or burn off fingers.

“We don’t want to see anybody in trouble,” he said.

Hours when fireworks can be legally used:

• Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway: never

• Arlington, Index, Granite Falls*, Lake Stevens, Monroe and unincorporated Snohomish County: 9 a.m. to midnight on the Fourth of July.

• Lynnwood and Marysville: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

• Snohomish: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.

• Stanwood: Hours vary through July 5, according to state law.

• Sultan: Hours vary through July 5, according to state law.

Fireworks are not allowed on any school property, at any state or county parks or on land owned by the Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Forest Service. For more information on rules by community, go to sheriff.snoco.org/Our_Community/Fireworks.htm.

Safety tips

• Store fireworks away from children.

• Be careful where you discharge fireworks. Dry grass and bushes will be vulnerable to fire.

• Aim them away from people and buildings. Light one at a time and move away quickly.

• No fireworks without adult supervision. Do not allow children 5 and younger to play with fireworks under any circumstances – even sparklers.

• Do not put your face near fireworks that don’t launch or malfunction. Dispose of them by soaking in water.

• Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher on hand.

• Put pets in a safe place, away from the fireworks and the noise.

• Clean up all debris when finished.

*Correction, July 2, 2012:This story previously listed incorrect fireworks rules for Granite Falls.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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