Local firefighters say safety comes first on Independence Day

By Holley Nees - bio | email

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - "The best advice I can give is to leave the fireworks up to the pros," said Lufkin Fire Department Captain Steve McCool.

That's the word from the Lufkin Fire Department, but if you do want to shoot off your own fireworks remember to do it outside city limits and be very careful.

"Last year, over 8,000 injuries incurred as a result of fireworks mostly to the hands face and head, and over half of those were with children 15 years and under," McCool said.

One fireworks vendor said he's had his own close calls.

"I have had some experiences with Fireworks, misusing them back when I was younger. I had some blow up in my hand and luckily, my hand is perfectly fine," said Austin Culbertson.

Now, he's learned his lesson.

"Never relight a Firework. Once you light the fuse, that's it. If it doesn't go off, stay away from it. Leave it for about 15 minutes," Culbertson said.

He said always make sure you read the direction label on your firecrackers or you could end up hurt.

Culbertson said, "Most of the accidents that I see that include hand or face injuries is because people are bringing the fireworks close to their face to light it."

The fire department said even sparklers can be very dangerous because they burn at such a high heat.

One firefighter said make sure you have a plan.

"You should have either a fire extinguisher around, a water hose, or something like that and be very careful as to where your fireworks go," said Nacogdoches Fire Department Captain Nick Boland.

The dry weather only adds to the danger of lighting your own fireworks.

"Residentially, fireworks cause a significant amount of fires," McCool said.

Even on Independence Day, be aware of the danger at hand.

The fire department said adults should use lighters with safety features on them to keep the kids safe when you're lighting the fireworks.

©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.