STAR-BULLETIN / JULY 2006
Seven-year-old Kelly Yoshida reacts while playing with sparklers on the beach during Fourth of July festivities at Ala Moana Beach Park. Behind Kelly is her father, Minoru, of Tokyo. CLICK FOR LARGE
July Fourth sparks cautions
Firefighters warn that recent dry conditions could increase the chances of fires
Dry conditions may aggravate the risk of brush fires during Fourth of July celebrations, so fire officials are asking residents to be cautious.
Last year, officials on Oahu reported 78 fires around Independence Day caused by fireworks.
The most serious was a fire that threatened five Makakilo homes.
And in 2005, about $420,000 in property damage was incurred due to fireworks-related fires throughout the year, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.
"We know it's dry right now, so we really caution people to clean up around their houses and remove the brush," said fire Capt. Terry Seelig. "The thing I'd really like to emphasize is that people use fireworks in the right place."
That means igniting them on personal private property and away from brush. Seelig also recommended that residents have a garden hose or bucket of water handy just in case.
"You may need to be able to control any fires before it gets too big," Seelig said.
He said about 48 permits, which are required for the purchase of firecrackers, were sold as of Thursday. He expects that number to shoot up as Wednesday approaches.
"That's because people almost always wait until it's this time," Seelig said.
The permits cost $25 at any Satellite City Hall. Firecrackers may be set off from 1 to 9 p.m. on July 4.
Last year, 229 permits were issued, and 26,563 cases of novelty fireworks were brought to Oahu.
Seelig also reminded that taking apart fireworks and putting them back together is prohibited and can cause injuries.
"Ways to avoid injuries is to of course use them properly, never hold them or throw them, and don't light them in areas where there are a lot of people around," he said.
FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS
» Use only approved fireworks from a licensed retail outlet.
» Always read and follow all warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer for the safe handling and use of fireworks.
» Never point or throw fireworks at a person, building or animal.
» Never ignite fireworks indoors. Make sure your outdoor area is safe for fireworks use.
» Fireworks should be lighted only on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry vegetation and flammable materials.
» Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
» Have a garden hose or a bucket of water ready in the event of a fire.
» Adults should always supervise the use of fireworks by children. Even sparklers can be dangerous for children to use without adult supervision.
» Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
» Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
» When lighting fireworks, never position any part of your body over them.
» Never attempt to relight malfunctioning fireworks.
» Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
» Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
» Never experiment with homemade fireworks. They are dangerous and illegal.
STAR-BULLETIN / JULY 2006
Kalihi residents JJ Jack, left, and Mid Miecho enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks show put on by Pyro Spectaculars by Souza at Magic Island. CLICK FOR LARGE
For those who would rather watch fireworks displays on the Fourth of July than play with firecrackers, there are a number of shows, including a show tonight during the Bay Fest celebration at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.
Many of the fireworks displays will be preceded by live entertainment. Below is a list of scheduled and permitted fireworks displays provided by the Honolulu Fire Department:
» Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Bay Fest), 10 p.m.
» Aloha Tower, 9 p.m.
» Ala Moana Beach, 8 p.m.
» Kailua Beach, 8 p.m.
» Schofield Barracks, 8:15 p.m.
» Hickam Air Force Base, 8:30 p.m.
» Pearl Harbor, 8:45 p.m.
» Turtle Bay Resort, 9 p.m.