Independence Day this year will be quite different from those in the past with social distancing and the need for protective masks becoming the new normal.
The highlight of many Washington County residents’ Fourth of July holiday, the Main Street Greenville fireworks show on the levee, is cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this does not mean families cannot enjoy the magic of fireworks — and a good family cookout — in the comfort and safety of their own spaces.
With several firework stands set up throughout the county, many residents have been stocking up for Independence Day.
Although fireworks can be fun, local residents should be mindful of the laws about setting them off in the city and the dangers they can potentially cause.
Anyone caught setting off fireworks within the city limits can face a fine up to $300.
Shooting fireworks in the county is perfectly OK, however, people should be aware of the damage the activity can cause if caution is not used.
According to the National Safety Council, eight people died and more than 12,000 were severely injured in 2017 due to fireworks-related incidents.
Although the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, approximately 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices, such as small firecrackers and sparklers.
For those who choose to use legal fireworks, the National Safety Council offers several safety tips on their website, nsc.org, including:
* Never allow young children to handle fireworks;
* Older children should use them only under close adult supervision;
* Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
* Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear;
* Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands;
* Never light them indoors;
* Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material;
* Never point or throw fireworks at another person;
* Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting;
* Never ignite devices in a container;
* Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks;
* Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding;
* Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire; and
* Never use illegal fireworks.