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Tips to safely have a popping Fourth of July

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 8:25 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Fireworks stands are seeing a dramatic increase in sales this year as many city fireworks displays are cancelled, indicating we’ll see plenty of at-home shows this Independence Day.

Hastings owned Papa Lyons Discount Fireworks has been in the area for 25 years. On Monday, sales were already up from the same time last year.

“Oh, I’d say about twice as much,” said Robert Lyons, co-owner of Papa Lyons Discount Fireworks.

With more people expected to set off their own fireworks this year, Lyons has some trick you can follow to prevent injuries and fires.

“If you’re shooting off a smaller brick, the 200 grams, put a brick on either side of it - a building brick. That will secure it, and keep it from tipping over. That’s the biggest thing that will happen,” Lyons said. “Tip it over and then it’ll start shooting everywhere.”

Lyons said when they put on a display, they’ll place an 8-foot table on its side and put the shell behind it. That way the table can put some distance between the spectators and fireworks.

He also suggests never bending over the fireworks when lighting them.

You should always ignite fireworks in an open area, and point them away from trees and houses.

Once the fireworks are set off, you should let them sit for at least 20 minutes before picking them up.

Before you throw them away, you need to put them in a bucket with water until they’re saturated. Then wrap them in a plastic bag to hold in the moisture, and throw it in the dumpster. A metal trash bin is preferred.

“A lot of that is cardboard and paper, and a lot of times that heat can sit there for a long time. It may not be enough on its own, but when we pile all that stuff together, like oily rags and spontaneous combustion, that heat begins to build,” said Troy Vorderstrasse, fire prevention officer with Hastings Fire & Rescue. “By the time we go to bed, we wake up with a trash can next to our house or our front porch that’s lit the side of our house on fire.”

In 2018, the National Fire Protection Association attributed fireworks as the cause of 19,500 fires.

Hastings Fire & Rescue responded to several fireworks related incidents last year, including a house fire.

“But if we take those extra safety precautions those numbers should stay down,” Vorderstrasse said.

According to Hastings city ordinances, you can’t shoot fireworks on any public sidewalks, streets, alleys or parks, or on city-owned property without a special permit from the fire department.

Following the same ordinances, legal fireworks can be sold and ignited from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 28 through July 2, and 10 a.m. to midnight July 3 and July 4.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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