The 4th of July, or Independence Day, is when many celebrate our country’s freedom by enjoying fireworks displays, shooting off our own fireworks, enjoying an outdoor barbecue with friends, camping, and other activities. Considering the holiday falls on Tuesday this year, some have chosen to take Monday as a vacation day to enjoy a long weekend. Regardless, have a great time and be safe!
Here’s some information you may find useful to make sure your family stays out of danger – and that you don’t face any legal issues.
In Grand Rapids and neighboring cities, it’s illegal for city residents to shoot off fireworks over the weekend. You can enjoy the annual Amway Family Fireworks event on Saturday, but firing off your own on Saturday or Sunday could leave you facing legal problems. Better to enjoy the commercial fireworks display and wait until Monday to enjoy your own display, which you can legally do between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Even during the hours on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th it is legal to shoot off fireworks, there are a few rules. For instance, you want to avoid shooting fireworks (or even lighting them) on a school, church, or business parking lot without permission. Additionally it is unlawful to light fireworks on sidewalks, public streets, in public parks, or within 500 feet of a gas station. You’ll also want to stay at least 25 feet away from any building.
Enjoying a fireworks display is half the fun of the 4th of July holiday, however fireworks can result in serious injuries to those in the vicinity and be the main catalyst for serious fires. Be safe by keeping these tips in mind:
Have water nearby, whether in a bucket or water hose.
Children should not be allowed to light or play with any type of firework, even those that don’t “seem” too dangerous.
Sparklers are pretty, but they’re also dangerous for young children. When burning sparklers closely supervise your child and have a bucket of water nearby to put it out.
ALWAYS read labels so you know the distance you need to safely shoot off a firework, and what it’s intended to do.
Don’t shoot off bottle rockets or other fireworks designed to go up in the air from soft drink bottles (or any glass container) or metal cans.
Playing around is fun, but dangerous when it comes to fireworks. Don’t throw or even point a firework at someone else.
If you’re lighting the fireworks or will even be near the launching area, wear safety glasses. Fireworks can do unexpected things, so always be prepared and aware.
We all get a “dud” once in a while, a firework that fails to ignite or go off as it should. Don’t try to light the firework again, and don’t move it until about 20 minutes have passed. At that time pick it up so that it’s facing in a safe direction, and put in a bucket of water.
If you’re enjoying a few beers or a drink as part of your July 4th celebration, don’t participate in the lighting or launching of fireworks. It’s safer for everyone involved.
Celebrating Independence day is something everyone enjoys, but be sure to take all precautions and be safe over the holiday. This applies not only to lighting or launching fireworks, but driving as well as you could find yourself charged with DUI if you choose to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. Have a happy and safe 4th of July from the staff at Grabel & Associates!