Celebrating the Fourth of July could be considered one of the best parts about summer in the Valley. The smell of barbecue followed by colorful fireworks have become emblematic of Independence Day.
But with these activities serving as a popular part of the holiday, the Peoria Fire-Medical Department maintains it is important to make sure these activities are exercised safely.
Michael Selmer, a spokesman for Peoria Fire-Medical, offered some tips on how to keep the community safe when setting off fireworks.
“We’re seeing more fires right now, just because of the amount of rain we had during the weekend. A lot of those brushes grew and then dried out, and then we just have a lot of fuel on the ground, all around us,” Selmer said.
First and foremost, Selmer said it is important to purchase fireworks legally and to take note of when the city of Peoria allows fireworks to be set off. During the summer months, fireworks are allowed June 24 through July 6.
According to Selmer, the city “prohibits any fireworks that are launched or that can cause a small explosion or a loud bang.”
When it comes to setting off fireworks, Selmer said to take note of where you are standing.
“You don’t want to be anywhere near dry brush, and with the desert all around us it’s just ready to be set on fire,” Selmer said. “If it’s windy out, don’t let anything off, because wind can just carry those sparks quite a ways.”
Adult supervision around minors is also imperative, along with having adults be the ones to set the fireworks off.
Selmer said try to do it in an empty driveway and away from the street, as children tend to get distracted and may not pay attention to oncoming traffic.
But fireworks are not the only fire hazards during the festivities. Barbecues can be just as dangerous if they are not handled correctly, he said.
Always check for leaks from propane tanks, and be sure they’re tightened. Also, clean the grill before and after each use. Make sure to always keep a squirt bottle or a fire extinguisher easily accessible.
Then, avoid cooking under an awning or any sort of patio cover, as fire can spread rapidly. Propane grills are allowed year-round, but when using a charcoal grill, check for no-burn days.