GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — City of Grand Rapids fire and police departments urge residents to be aware of fireworks regulations and safety tips before lighting up the sky.
The city’s fireworks ordinance – limiting the use of them within Grand Rapids – reflects state law governing the use of consumer-grade fireworks, according to a news release Monday.
It sets a civil fine of $1,000 for each violation of the fireworks ordinance, as well as sets the dates and times when fireworks may be set off throughout the year:
- 11 a.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1
- 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day
- 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. June 29 to July 4
- 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day.
Fireworks burn, blind, maim and disfigure hundreds of people every year – many of them children, according to Lt. Smith of the GRFD Fire Prevention Division.
“Our goal every year is to promote fireworks safety to ensure that not a single family in Grand Rapids suffers the pain and sorrow of a fireworks injury,” he said.
GRFD offered the following fireworks safety tips:
- Read and follow all warnings and instructions contained on the package
- Never allow children to play with or ignite any fireworks. Sparklers, although considered by many the ideal “safe” firework for the young, burn at extremely high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Many children do not understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a malfunction or fire
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never shoot a firework at or near another person.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials. Never light a firework while holding it in your hand.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. “Duds” can re-ignite and injure you. If you must move them, consider scooping them up with a shovel and dropping them in a bucket of water to extinguish.
- Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one made of glass or metal.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
- Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Never mix fireworks and alcohol.
- Observe local laws.
- State law prohibits igniting fireworks on a public street, public sidewalk, park, church, school or public rights of way.
- Before retiring for the evening, make sure you yard, shrubbery, trees and your home are free of any unwanted burning.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home.
“The best way to avoid a fireworks accident is to leave fireworks to the professionals,” Smith said.