Step up safety this 4th of July

Captain Terry Seelig
Captain Terry Seelig

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Expect some changes this year to the way folks celebrate the 4th of July. Sparklers are out, and new regulations are in; fire officials still have some safety concerns for those lighting up the night this holiday weekend.

Fireworks on past Independence days won't hold a candle to what could light the night on July 4th. Captain Terry Seelig, of the Honolulu Fire Department, said, "We're hoping people take advantage of attending the professional displays because that's where they're gonna see the most incredible awesome fireworks. It's only firecrackers that are legal right now."

Everything else is illegal, including aerials, fountains, and even sparklers. This is the first fireworks heavy holiday since the ban kicked in on January 2nd, and while firecrackers can be a blast, remember, they're explosives. Fire officials say you should either set them on the ground, or suspend them from a string. Captain Seelig had more rules, "You shouldn't hold them or throw them. You should make sure the area's clear of people, or combustible material, meaning brush or grass, or anything else that could catch fire."

Plus, make sure the fire crackers are no where near power lines. Seelig explained, "That's extremely dangerous as well as potentially destructive to the power supply." You should also have a garden hose or bucket of water on hand, just in case.

A fireworks frenzy set off dozens of accidental fires during New Year's celebrations this year. In fact, the Fire Department responded to 81 fires in just two days. Several included illegal fireworks.

Seelig notes, "The dangers posed by the illegal ones concern all of us in the community. I know the neighbors and residents throughout Oahu have often expressed concern over aerials in their neighborhoods."

Just in case you're thinking you may set off fireworks, we wouldn't recommend it. You could have to cough up to $2,000, or face jail time. Seelig put it simply, "Be careful and considerate of your family and friends. Be safe and enjoy the holidays. That's what it's all about."

The Fire Department says only 95 permits were sold for firecrackers this year. That's about half the amount sold last year. So, whether you're celebrating at home, or heading out to a show, be sure to stay safe.

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