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Fire chief urges caution when using fireworks during Indiana’s dry weather

BARGERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A fire chief in a Johnson County town is sending a warning before people decide to go out and buy fireworks for their Fourth of July celebrations.

“If you do choose to use consumer fireworks at home, just understand what you’re getting into,” said Chief Eric Funkhouser of Bargersville Fire Department.

To help prevent injuries and deaths, one tip is to only use fireworks away from people, houses and flammable items.

“You want to be very smart. You want to make sure you look at your surroundings, you know. You don’t want to be setting them off in the grass this year with the way of everything being so dry. You want to be away from any structures and you’re looking for level ground because the other thing is, once these fireworks start to go off, you know you’re not sure how they’re going to react and you don’t want them to tip over,” Funkhouser said.

On Friday, the fire chief showed how to properly light up different types of fireworks. He says to only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance.

Also, people should never hold lighted fireworks in their hands.

“And understand that they’re dangerous. I mean we have to understand as we’re looking at them each one of them is going to do something different. So, you kind of need to know — as I was looking at fireworks today, you know, in the stores and everything — you almost have to read the instructions on every single one of them.”

On top of that, never allow children to handle fireworks, including sparklers, on their own. Funkhouser said as he demonstrated a sparkler’s display, “Stuff is falling down right now, so it’ll land on their feet. It falls on their hands. They’ll get burnt using these, and these burn anywhere up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.”

To put that in perspective, consider that water boils at 212 F.

Another tip is to keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks before throwing them in the trash.

Another tip is to keep your pets safely away from fireworks. Dogs, for example, are more sensitive to loud noises.

Finally, keep in mind at what time fireworks are allowed in the local area.

“Ultimately, you need to know the rules, and it can be frustrating. We try to put this out a lot of the time, but we want to have fun. We want people to enjoy their Fourth of July. That’s why we always push the professional shows. They’re so many amazing ones around that people can go to and be a part of,” Funkhouser said.