Fireworks: Play it safe

With Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate.

With Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s time to celebrate.

But before your family celebrates this year, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.

Retail fireworks stands opened last week, including locations in unincorporated King County.

It’s illegal to light fireworks within the Issaquah and Sammamish city limits. However, it is legal to light fireworks in unincorporated King County but only on July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight.

While fireworks are fun and a tradition on the Fourth of July, they can also cause property damage and personal injuries, especially to unmonitored children.

In 2002 through 2007, there were more than 6,000 fireworks related emergency incidents reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Nearly 36 percent of injuries reported were to children 14 and under.

The best fireworks safety tip is to avoid lighting them at all. Instead, attend public fireworks displays — leave it to the experts. But if you do live in a place where it’s OK to light them, then follow these 10 straight-forward safety tips.

• Have water nearby and put pets indoors.

• Only adults should light fireworks.

• Be sure the fireworks you purchase are legal to possess and discharge.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

• Use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass and trees.

• Never try to re-light malfunctioning fireworks.

• Don’t throw or point fireworks at another person.

• Never experiment with, modify or attempt to make your own fireworks.

• Clean up fireworks debris.

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

It should be noted that fireworks safety starts before a firework is even sold: It begins with the manufacturers, who need to follow strict quality controls in making their products. That doesn’t mean every firework is guaranteed to be safe, though. Things can go wrong with fireworks, just as they can with any product, and most of the time it’s because the fireworks aren’t handled properly.

The summer is heating up as we speak. Sammamish and Issaquah — and those who live outside city limits — don’t need to feel any extra heat in the form of fires or burns caused by fireworks.

Do your part and play it safe while enjoying the Fourth of July season.