COLUMBIA - With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, local fireworks stores say they had more business Saturday than they have in weeks.
"Today was definitely our busiest day of the season so far," said Laurel Critchfield, a retails salesperson at Spirit of '76.
State Fire Marshal Randy Cole reminds Missourians that public firework displays are the "safest way to enjoy fireworks." He added, "Fireworks are unpredictable and potentially dangerous for users, bystanders, and any surrounding structures when not used properly."
But Critchfield said individuals can safely use fireworks. "If you use them correctly and you follow general firework safety instructions and stay away from them when they're blowing up basically, then they're pretty safe." She warned parents to watch kids using sparklers. "Make sure that they're holding them correctly, make sure that you pay attention to them when they have them." Critchfield said sparklers are "One of the most injury-prone fireworks because kids don't know how to use them."
Fire Marshal Cole offered some safety tips, as well:
- Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer.
- Always Wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
- Tie back long hair and don't war loose fitting clothes.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.
- Never have any part of your body over fireworks.
- Keep young children away from fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Make sure to have water nearby in case of fire or accident.
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Don't use fireworks while consuming alcohol. Use a "designated shooter."
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don't save fireworks from season to season.