Be responsible with fireworks

As the Fourth of July approaches, many local residents are no doubt planning to attend a fireworks show. Some will celebrate by using their own “sparkling devices.”

In 2015, New York state passed a law that gave Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties, along with 37 other counties, the option of legalizing the sale of sparkling devices, which the state defines as ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks or a colored flame. The law limits the times of year the sparkling devices can be sold by specialty retailers to June 1 to July 5, and Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, and requires purchasers to be at least 18 years old. The sparkling devices must be either hand-held or mounted on a base or spike, and be limited to sizes that range from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

We supported the legalization of the sparkling devices, but, as always, we caution local residents to use them safely. According to the New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Sparkler Safety fact sheet, in 2013, there were eight deaths and 11,400 reported injuries in the United States related to fireworks, with sparklers accounting for 31 percent of these injuries.

We hope people enjoy the use of their sparkling devices, but we also hope everyone follows these safety tips from New York state:

— Follow the directions on the packaging.

— Never use sparklers indoors.

— Wear eye protection.

— Never light more than one sparkler at a time.

— Never point a sparkler tube toward anyone or any part of your body.

— Keep sparklers in a safe, secure location when not in use.

— Never use sparklers when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

— Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

— Douse malfunctioning and spent devices with water before discarding to prevent a fire.

— Purchase sparklers and novelty devices from New York state- registered retailers only.

By Patricia Older

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