Letters to the Editor

Fireworks can be both safe and fun | Letter to the editor

Vashon enjoyed two years of incident-free fireworks usage until last year. Thankfully, there were no reported fireworks injuries on-island last year, but there were two significant fires on hillsides.

The fires last year illustrate why it is so important to choose the right location to light fireworks and why people should only use legal products. Illegal fireworks are illegal for a good reason: Statistically they cause almost all of the serious fireworks-related incidents in our state. The two major categories of fireworks that are illegal in Washington are bottle rockets and firecrackers.

The hazards of firecrackers are pretty obvious, the main ones being injury and hearing loss. It’s also easy to damage property with them. Bottle rockets are a little more subtle; they look innocuous, but tend to fly in an erratic fashion. They will often go somewhere they shouldn’t and can light things on fire. Keep in mind that transporting illegal fireworks via the ferry can get you in big trouble.

If you choose to use fireworks, always keep a charged hose and a bucket of water nearby. If you are lighting on grass, give it a good watering a couple of hours before the show. Avoid dry areas and places where product could end up in trees. Talk to your fireworks dealer to find out how high and wide your fireworks will go so you can be prepared.

Be considerate: Light only during the legal hours on July 4. It’s a good idea to talk to your neighbors about what you are planning so they can be prepared. If your neighbors or their animals are sensitive to noise, please consider quiet fireworks or an alternate location. Also consider taking fireworks safety classes that will be offered at Sound Food.

Be safe, and have a happy, beautiful Fourth of July!

—  Gabriel Felix, Vashon Fireworks Co., and Assistant Chief George Brown, VIFR

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