Huntsville law enforcement warn of dangers with store-bought fireworks

Fireworks are illegal in the city of Huntsville and carry a fine if caught with one.

Posted: Jul 2, 2020 10:12 PM

Ahead of the holiday weekend, Huntsville Fire and Rescue wants to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe.

The department says burns account for 2 out of every 5 emergency room visits around the 4th of July.

1 out of 3 of those victims are under the age of 15.

And for every ER visit related to fireworks, a quarter of them involved a sparkler.

The biggest takeaway from Huntsville law enforcement is that shooting fireworks is illegal in the city, and also to remember fireworks aren't something you should buy if you have no experience with them, no matter how small.

"They're a different product than what you see at a professional show. They can be unpredictable. A lot of people label them as safe, which they're not safe. Nationally, fireworks has caused over 19,000 fires annually," said Huntsville Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson.

Even though coronavirus cancelled a lot of celebrations holiday plans, Wilkerson said there are still professional shows in Madison County they encourage you attend, safely.

Huntsville police are also preparing for more calls because of fireworks or shots fired reports.

They're asking you to help them as much as you can if you call.

"When you call about someone using fireworks in your neighborhood or in other areas of the city, please call with a little specificity of what you're seeing," said Lt. Michael Johnson.

Johnson said, on average, the police department screens nearly 900 calls every 24 hours during the 4th of July weekend.

He said the more you can see, or describe what you're hearing, the faster they can come out and inspect.

He also told us they also expect to respond to celebratory gunshots, which can carry a hefty penalty.

"Shooting a firearm or weapon in the city limits is against the law. It's a misdemeanor. If a bullet or a round enters into a vehicle or a home, that's a felony," said Johnson.

If you get caught with fireworks over the weekend, Huntsville police can fine you $100 for your first offense, and that can increase and lead to an arrest if you're caught again.

Some other holiday weekend notes: Huntsville Fire and Rescue says you should always have knowledge of the tools you're using when grilling outside to prevent a fire.

And Huntsville Animal Services told us if you have an animal that's afraid of fireworks, put them in a crate over the weekend or get them used to the noise by playing the sound of a firework and awarding them a treat.

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