BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL – With one July holiday under their belts, South Davis Metro Fire Agency officials are pleased people seem to being taking more precautions with fireworks and obeying restrictions.
They’re also asking residents to keep safety first in their minds when lighting fireworks during the upcoming July 24 holiday.
“For the July 4 holiday, we saw an improvement (in the number of fireworks-related fires) over last year, SDMFA deputy chief Jeff Bassett said. “Last year there were seven. This year there were four.”
Three of the four fires were grass fires in Bountiful. The fourth was a car fire caused by a smoke bomb in North Salt Lake, Bassett said. All of the fires were small and easily put out by fire crews.
But conditions haven’t changed in the past two weeks. Growth is still tinder-dry and temperatures remain hot, creating ideal conditions for an errant firework to start a blaze.
Residents are expected to follow the same restrictions that were in place for the July 4 holiday, but Bassett warns that even legal fireworks being used in unrestricted areas can be dangerous.
“Think about your surroundings,” Bassett said. “If you’re near an open field or in an area with lots of trees, it can be a danger. You never know which direction the wind may take it.”
And when it lands, it’s still hot, he said.
He also recommends having a container of water available to soak the used fireworks in.
“One of the calls we often get is that someone has put their fireworks in a trash can, where it sits and smolders until it melts the trash can or later catches fire,” Bassett said. “We’re trying to educate people to make it their goal to put the spent fireworks in water.”
Firefighters and emergency rooms also see a lot of children burned by sparklers.
“Many parents think they are safe, but we see kids with burns, lacerations and traumatic injuries from sparklers,” Bassett said
Children should always be supervised by an adult while fireworks are lit, “and make sure you’re using the fireworks in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations,” Bassett said.
Too often, firefighters have seen serious injuries caused because someone tried to string several fireworks together or to light them simultaneously.
As on July 4, extra law enforcers and firefighters throughout Davis County will be on patrol on July 24 to ensure fireworks regulations are followed.