Keep Fourth safe, say officials

As families all over the country get ready for July Fourth, public safety officials are gearing up for a busy weekend.

Last year, the holiday’s toll in Snohomish County totaled more than $4 million in damage. Fireworks started fires in several houses and injured at least three people.

More than 11,000 injuries are reported nationwide each year as a result of mishandling and misuse of fireworks.

Three houses burned in Snohomish County Fire District 1, prompting district officials to ask for a ban on fireworks.

The Snohomish County Council earlier this year considered a ban on fireworks on unincorporated county land but postponed action until at least 2012.

Legal fireworks stands will open on Tuesday throughout the county. The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office issued 39 permits this year, Fire Marshal Mike McCrary said. Each of the stands is carefully inspected and regulated. People should keep in mind that they can get hurt.

Boom City, a popular fireworks market on Tulalip tribal land, opened a week ago. Some types of fireworks that can be purchased here under federal law are illegal elsewhere in the state. There is a detonation area to encourage people to set off fireworks on tribal land, where they are legal.

People may be cited if caught using illegal fireworks or detonating fireworks in places where they are unlawful, McCrary said.

For the Marysville Fire District, the volume of calls almost doubles on Fourth of July, spokeswoman Kristen Thorstenson said. She urged people to think safety on Fourth of July. “Have some fun, but use your head,” she said.

It’s safest to enjoy a professional display. But if you are getting your own fireworks this year, why not buy them from stands in your city or neighborhood? Thorstenson said.

Many churches and Boy Scout troops will be selling fireworks to raise money.

Fire protection officials also hope the damp weather will make for fewer brush fires on Independence day.

The lush vegetation fed generously by the rain eventually will dry out and turn into fuel for brush and forest fires, but that likely won’t happen for another month, Thorstenson said.

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, kyefimova@heraldnet.com.

Fireworks rules

Where and when fireworks are permitted in Snohomish and Island counties:

Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Woodway: banned

Bothell, Granite Falls, Lynnwood, Sultan: July 4, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Monroe, Arlington, Lake Stevens: July 4, 9 a.m. to midnight

Marysville: July 4 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Index: July 4

Unincorporated Snohomish County, Darrington, Brier: July 4, 9 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Stanwood: June 28 to July 5, noon to 11 p.m.

Snohomish: July 1-4, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Tulalip: Tulalip residents may set off fireworks at their homes. People who do not live in Tulalip may set off fireworks only in Boom City’s detonation area. Boom City is open until midnight through July 4.

Island County: June 28, noon to 11 p.m.; June 29 through July 3, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; July 4, 9 a.m. to midnight; July 5, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Fireworks safety tips

  • Have a bucket of water ready for emergencies and to douse used fireworks.

    Never build or experiment with homemade fireworks.

    Never let children handle or light fireworks, including sparklers.

    Never ignite fireworks while holding them.

    Make sure you have enough space away from potential hazards, including buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.

    Never light fireworks inside a house or structure, including a garage.

    Don’t wear loose clothing that can catch on fire while handling fireworks.

    Never try to reignite fireworks that have malfunctioned. Soak them in water, then throw them away.

    Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.

    Source: State Fire Marshal’s Office and Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office

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