Fire chief touts safety measures for July 4

Keri Thornton | Daily Press

Jasen Waterson stocked up some fireworks to be on display at the firework stand in front of Walmart.

The newly appointed Tahlequah Fire Department chief encourages area residents to play it safe with fireworks this weekend.

Fire Chief Casey Baker said there are preventative measures in place to ensure a safe fireworks show, whether at home or elsewhere.

“Firework season is coming along, and we want to make sure that everybody is safe,” said Baker. “You never want to point fireworks at another person and you always want to back up to a safe distance after lighting.”

Baker advises fireworks aficionados to keep a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby, in case there is a fire emergency.

“Always dowse used fireworks before putting them in the trash. The best thing to do is have a bucket and put them in there before you throw them away,” Baker said.

One safety measure is to never try to relight a firework that didn't ignite, as it could do so the second time around.

Baker pointed out the only time fireworks should be shot off in the city limits is on the Fourth of July.

“I noticed they’ve been firing them off here regularly, but the city ordinance states it can only been done on July 4,” said Baker.

The fire chief said it’s never a good idea to set off a firework on grass. Concrete or a paver will keep the firework secure as it’s ignited.

“Enjoy it for sure, because we always want to celebrate our independence. Just do it in a safe manner and don’t point to at other houses or people,” Baker said.

Baker said firefighters have responded to several grass blazes caused by fireworks, and that is typically the calls for which they are paged out during the holiday.

“Not so many house fires, but we have had some. There are some cities where they’ve done away with certain type of roofing material because fireworks have landed on them and it catches on fire,” Baker said.

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