Fireworks, grills require safety mindset

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Along with celebrating America’s independence comes the sound of popping fireworks and the smell of meat on the grill.
The Fourth of July holiday is when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 60 percent of all fireworks injuries occur.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney warned in a news release that an average of 10 deaths, 140 injuries and $75 million in property damage are caused each year from grills, hibachis and barbecues.
The sale and use of fireworks is legal in all Lee County cities excluding Tupelo.
Tupelo Police Chief Thomas Walker said they haven’t had to respond to fireworks-related fires in several years.
“We feel the no-fireworks policy helps keep that down and that’s the reason we don’t have to respond to fires,” he said. “We want to encourage that there is a no fireworks ordinance in Tupelo. For those who don’t live in Tupelo, make sure to follow the directions on the fireworks and be safe. Don’t point them at pets, people or property and keep a bucket of water or garden hose close by.”
Shannon Police Chief Desiree Kirshner said Shannon residents are welcome to shoot fireworks but encouraged everyone to be responsible and try to keep from firing in areas where homes are close together.
“Remember if it gets real late, people might call us to complain about the noise,” Kirshner said.
Chaney provided some common-sense safety tips for grill users. They should be used only outdoors and placed well away from structures, deck railings and overhanging tree branches.
Grills should be cleaned regularly to prevent grease and fat buildup and should never be unattended. Children and pets should be kept away from the grill area.
“Take extra care with your grill this year; celebrate the Fourth with your family, not in the emergency room,” Chaney advised.
jb.clark@journalinc.com