Fourth of July weekend is almost upon us and with it comes fun, fireworks at celebrations with friends and family.
Each year, however, the holiday is spoiled as a result of fireworks-related injuries and fires, said Lt. Christian Sliker, spokesman with Myrtle Beach Fire and Rescue.
Sliker said people should remember it is illegal to use or possess fireworks in the city limits of Myrtle Beach and encourages residents and visitors to go to professional firework displays. Some other towns and neighborhoods in Horry County have also banned fireworks, so make sure you know the rules in your area before lighting a fuse.
“There are hundreds of permitted professional fireworks displays available to South Carolinians to enjoy during the Fourth of July holiday,” Bert Polk, state fire marshal, said in a press release. “Residents can consult their local fire officials for displays in their area.”
Or they can go to http://tinyurl.com/ppxlmu6 at MyrtleBeachOnline for a listing of fireworks and other events on tap this weekend.
Polk and Sliker said people using fireworks in areas where they’re not prohibited should use caution.
“You cannot take safety for granted when it comes to fireworks,” Polk said. “We want everyone to have fun, but safety precautions must come first.”
Local information about how many people have been hurt using fireworks along the Grand Strand were not available.
In 2013 a worker helping with a North Myrtle Beach Fourth of July fireworks show was hurt at the Cherry Grove Pier when a large shell prematurely exploded, officials said. The explosion caused a two foot by three foot hole in the pier and damaged some of the railing.
Contact ELIZABETH TOWNSEND at 626-0217 or on Twitter @TSN_etownsend.
For those choosing a do-it-yourself approach to fireworks, authorities offer these safety tips:
• Observe local laws. If unsure whether it is legal to use fireworks, check with local officials.
• Buy from fireworks retailers permitted through the Fire Marshal’s Office.
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
• Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.
• Use common sense and always read and follow the directions on each firework.
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
• Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass, and trees.
• Light one firework at a time and keep a safe distance.
• Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.
• Never give fireworks to small children.
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
• Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.
• Put used fireworks in a bucket of water; keep a garden hose on hand.
• Do not use near buildings or combustible materials.
• Always use eye protection.
• Soak fireworks in water after each use to prevent re-ignition.