Our View

Our view: Be considerate of others and safety with fireworks

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources shared its annual list of fireworks safety tips this week.[]

As Independence Day nears, so do more frequent booms.

The sound of fireworks and firecrackers can be heard in neighborhoods across the area.

We urge everyone to be cautious and considerate when using fireworks.

First of all, know what’s legal and safe.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued its annual news release Tuesday reminding individuals and organizations sponsoring fireworks displays in Illinois to be sure their fireworks vendor has the required state licenses and certificates issued by the IDNR and the Office of the State Fire Marshal before their fireworks show. The Illinois Explosives Act requires anyone who buys, possesses, uses, transfers, stores or disposes of explosives, including display fireworks, to have an explosives license and explosives storage certificate issued by the IDNR. Licensing and storage requirements administered by the IDNR do not apply to consumer fireworks, which is what most common people use.

Consumer fireworks may be bought and displayed. Hand-held fireworks, including firecrackers, roman candles and bottle rockets, are not approved for sale or use in Illinois.

A backyard grand illumination is possible, while maintaining safety.

The cardinal safety rule is to use common sense. Some of the primary fireworks safety tips include:

1. Never allow children to handle fireworks. Only sober adults should handle and ignite the fireworks. A designated shooter should be the one in charge of the fireworks.

2. Use in a clear, open space, free from debris and combustibles. Shoot on a hard, flat surface. Keep your audience a safe distance from your launch site and fallout zones. A minimum safe distance should be 30 feet for ground-based items.

3. Have a ready source of water close by. A connected hose is best, but a bucket of water or fire extinguisher will do. Someone should act as the fireman – someone to visually track the burning projectiles down.

4. Do not relight duds. Follow all laws. Use a long-neck butane lighter, punk or pyro torch. Never put any part of your body over a firework or in its travel path.

For a complete list of fireworks safety tips, visit fireworks.com/fireworks-university/fireworks-safety-tips.

To report an explosives incident or accident concerning display fireworks, the public should contact the IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals, Explosives and Aggregate Division at 217-782-9976 and the OSFM at 217-785-0969.

Additionally, we ask those using fireworks to be considerate of their surroundings. Don’t let off loud noises late at night. Be courteous of neighbors who may have PTSD or frightened pets. Pick up any garbage the fireworks may leave. We hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day.