Officials share fireworks safety tips for people, pets

MORGANTOWN — Fireworks season is here and if you haven’t heard them already, you will soon.
Jason Modlik, co-owner of Fireworks Planet, said he’s been operating a stand in Morgantown for three years, since the law changed to allow West Virginians to buy roman candles, mortars, repeater cakes and bottle rockets.
“The first year was a little shaky because most people didn’t know the law had changed,” he said. “The second year was good, and we’re anticipating this year to be better.”
Morgantown Fire Chief Mark Caravasos said his department has a lot of experience dealing with fireworks, and call volume typically increases during holidays where fireworks are common.
“The biggest thing is safety,” he said. “Fireworks are dangerous.”
Fireworks are flammable, explosive and can injure or “even kill you,” he said. He recommended following the manufacturer instructions for launching and making sure the person launching is a sober adult.
Modlik said his number one safety rule is “don’t put your face over anything.” He also echoed a warning given by Caravasos about dud fireworks. The chief recommended that if a firework does not go off to wait at least 30 minutes and then soak it with water before handling it. Modlik said dud fireworks can sometimes go off after 10 minutes without ever smoking or giving a warning sign.
A lot of safety comes down to common sense, Modlik said. For example, don’t shoot Roman Candles at people and if it’s too dry don’t set off fireworks, he said.
Both Modlik and Caravasos suggested keeping a bucket of water and a hose ready in case something goes wrong.

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