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Celebrate safely with fireworks

With retail fireworks stands now open in Valley communities, local cities and firefighters ask residents to celebrate safely.

Snoqualmie and North Bend will be enforcing fireworks laws on Independence Day to make this holiday safer for all.

In Snoqualmie, fireworks may only be discharged between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m. on Friday, July 4. Unlawful use and discharge of common and illegal fireworks could mean a fine of $124. No one may possess, discharge, or make any other use of any fireworks in any public park.

In North Bend, the possession, use or discharge of any fireworks are prohibited at all times, except between 9 a.m. and midnight on July 4 each year.

"There is much that can be done to protect children and the public from fireworks injuries," said Snoqualmie Fire Chief Bob Rowe. He offers the following advice: "First, set family boundaries; only adults should light fireworks. Supervision is paramount in keeping children safe. Second, fireworks should not be readily available to tempt the curiosity of young children and should be stored in a secured location to prohibit their access. Most importantly, talk about safety. Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and vulnerable to fire. Use care in selecting the area where you will be discharging fireworks."

To learn about nearby community fireworks displays, visit the Fireworks Safety and Injury Prevention Web site at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fireworks/ and click "Fireworks Displays." The list includes information about displays in Carnation, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Seattle, among other cities throughout Washington state.

The Snoqualmie Web site, www.ci.snoqualmie.wa.us, has lots of information about fireworks safety, Snoqualmie fireworks laws, a list of illegal devices, and links to statistics and educational resources for adults and kids.

The city of Snoqualmie urges parents to talk to children about fireworks and safety. Family members should be educated about the following:


Be prepared

* Buy only legal fireworks available at licensed stands. Purchase only the quantity that you will use. Clear a level area away from things that can burn. Keep a bucket of water nearby in which to place all used fireworks and have a water hose or fire extinguisher close to put out stray sparks. Ensure the safety of pets.

* Teach your children to "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes catch on fire. Be knowledgeable of basic first aid. Know the emergency number for your area, plus your address or location.


Be safe

* Only adults should light fireworks. Use eye protection such as safety goggles. Light one at a time and move away quickly. Keep spectators at a safe distance. Only use fireworks outdoors, away from anything that can burn. To prevent injuries, follow the directions on the label carefully. Be considerate of your neighbors, pets, and environment.


Be responsible

* Clean up all debris when finished. "Duds" can be dangerous; if a fireworks item does not successfully light or fire, an adult should wait at least five minutes, approach it carefully, and place it in a bucket of water. Make sure unused fireworks, matches, and lighters are out of sight and reach of children.

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