SAN ANTONIO – While families across Bexar County are stocking up to light up the sky on New Year’s Eve with fireworks, authorities are amping up patrol and warning the community how quickly things can go wrong.
In a news conference, John Ortega, deputy fire marshal for Bexar County, said a professional fireworks show is the safest option. The most dangerous option, according to Ortega, is homemade fireworks.
“You can’t control the quantity and the quality of the pyrotechnic mixture inside of the fireworks devices themselves,” Ortega said. “So, there’s the risk of death and serious injury when you’re dealing with these types of devices.”
For those who prefer to buy and ignite their own fireworks, Ortega said to look for those with a stamp.
“They will have a stamp on there that reads 1.4 G,” Ortega said. “That means they’re appropriate for use by the general public.”
The 1.4 G fireworks found can be purchased from licensed vendors across Bexar County.
“Those are the folks that are operating within the legal guidelines of how fireworks are permitted to be sold,” Ortega said. “And that goes a long way in ensuring the safety of the product and of the manner that they’re stored and dispensed out to the general public.”
Starky Dávila helps run one of the fireworks stands in the far West Side.
“It’s eye candy for the little ones,” Dávila said. “I think (manufactures) focus big on packaging.”
In addition to the traditional sparklers and Roman candle fireworks, customers can choose from fireworks in the form of a Pokemón ball, ice cream cone, birthday cake, popcorn bag and more.
“(They) attract eyes, for sure,” Dávila said. “When walking up, (those are) first things people (and) kids notice.”
Dávila said most kid-friendly options have a base and can usually be found on the bottom row of firework stands.
“(Firework manufacturers will) put stands on the bottom to secure its position (and) make sure it doesn’t tip over,” Dávila said.
Ortega warns that even sparklers can be dangerous.
“There are always injuries, unfortunately, with children that are using sparklers,” Ortega said. “It’s important to remember that sparklers get up to an excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. (They) can cause serious burn injuries.”
Authorities want to also remind the community to keep combustibles away and be mindful of what area they choose to ignite their fireworks.
“We always want you to keep a bucket or a water hose in close proximity to be able to extinguish any fires that might arise from using the fireworks,” Ortega said.
Additional firework safety warnings, according to Bexar County Fire Marshal Office, include the following:
- Must have written consent to discharge fireworks within 600 feet of a church, school, university or hospital
- Do not ignite or discharge fireworks from a moving vehicle or toward a moving vehicle
- Do not ignite or discharge fireworks within 100 feet of a fireworks stand or a gas station
- Cannot ignite fireworks in a manner that is going to be hazardous to somebody else’s property
- Individuals are responsible for property damage or injuries that result from fireworks ignited
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