Firework Safety

Walk in any store this time of year and you’ll see red, white and blue everywhere you look, and in most places, you’ll see a firework display full of sparklers, party poppers and snappers.

But one thing you won’t find: fireworks like Roman Candles, Bottle Rockets and M-80s. That’s because here in Illinois pretty much anything that goes “boom” is illegal.

“They carry obviously a lot more powder and a lot more hazards when they utilize those. We obviously don’t recommend the illegal fireworks because of the explosive dangers in them,” said Scott Scheller, Naperville Fire Marshal.

Many Illinois residents choose to ignore the laws and go across state lines bringing back hundreds of dollars worth of illegal fireworks. But here in Naperville, getting caught can cost you up to a $200 dollar fine. The Naperville Police Department gets about 100 calls in regards to fireworks during the Fourth of July season.

“We send officers to the area to check and see if there are any obvious violations in their view,” said Sergeant Lou Cammiso, Naperville Police Department. “A lot of times people are in their backyards and they can try to investigate that, but many times the persons shooting off the fireworks in their backyards are done by the time the officer arrives and it can be hard to detect.”

For those celebrating Independence Day legally, you still need to take precautions. Sparklers can heat up to 1,800 degrees, the same temperature as a soldering gun.

“Handing a sparkler to a child that’s two or three years old, it might look cute on a picture, but while you’re backing up to take a picture it could cause a very significant burn, catch their clothes on fire, or lose an eye,” said Dr. Tom Scaletta, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Edward Hospital.

Edward Hospital gets about 20 to 40 injuries each Fourth of July season in regards to fireworks, and says they see everything from burns to loss of fingers or blindness.

“They are mostly hand injuries,” said Scaletta. “I think people underestimate how important your hand is. I don’t think they’re thinking about it when they’re lighting a firework and certainly in the aftermath of a significant injury they realize that they may have to lead a life without as much function as they once had.”

The Naperville Fire Department gets many calls too mostly about field or grass fires, and sometimes houses. One new law this year to help prevent fires, sky candles are now illegal.

“Sky Candles are the ones that float up into the air and send a flame who knows where,” said Scheller. “They can go wherever the wind takes it. There’s no control whatsoever.”

City officials encourage residents to find other ways to celebrate the Fourth, but if you choose to light fireworks, make sure to use them legally, safely, and always have water nearby to put out any flames.

The city’s fireworks display starts at 9:30 pm on July 4th.

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