BANGOR – When you think about the 4th of July, there’s a good chance you think about fireworks.
“Sales have been good, it started off kind of slow but it’s been picking up. We think the weather had something to do with that,” said Greg Spencer, store manager at Phantom Fireworks in Holden.
While they’re a big part of many celebrations, fireworks can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly. Fire Marshals say some of the biggest problems they see occur when people use fireworks while drinking alcohol.
“That’s not a good combination. Let the fireworks shooting be done by sober people,” said Sgt. Scott Richardson, Northern Division of the State Fire Marshals’ Office.
Normally, you are not allowed to shoot off fireworks after 10:00 pm, but the rules change for the 4th of July.
“The weekend before the 4th of July and the weekend after the 4th of July and the 4th of July itself you can shoot them off up until 12:30 am,” said Sgt. Richardson.
Fireworks like sky rockets are illegal in Maine, but Fire Marshals say some of the most dangerous ones have been legal for years.
“Sparklers are very dangerous, they burn very hot. They’re supposed to be stuck in the ground, and lit and watched from a distance, but you see them given to children who wave them around and hit people in the arms and things like that and they can cause serious burns,” said Sgt. Richardson.
And when in doubt…
“Check with the fireworks stores that you buy them at, they’ll usually help them out and pass out safety information and tell you the proper way to use them if you don’t know,” said Sgt. Richardson.
“Safety is huge. If people are getting hurt then they’re not going to want to continue participating in this great event or doing the fireworks. And that’s what it’s all about. We want everybody to use these every year and participate and make sure they keep their families safe,” said Spencer.
Fire Marshals recommend that if you want to see fireworks, check out a professional show in your community.