Local firework vendor urges community to take safety precautions when handling explosives

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral)- New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration, but to make sure 2022 starts off with a bang instead of flames, Alamo Fireworks wants to remind everyone of how dangerous can be and to be careful when using them.

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Chelsea Bode, Alamo Fireworks Sales Director told ValleyCentral their employees are encouraged to give safety tips to customers. She added that when products are purchased and bagged, the “grocery bags” they send home with customers also have safety instructions on the side.

To purchase fireworks though, you must be 16 years old and Bode recommends that there is nonstop adult supervision when the fireworks are in use, especially when younger children are around.

Bode also said that it’s best to “always have water nearby, so a bucket or a hose, anything like that just in case anything goes wrong, you’re at the ready.” She also mentioned popping off fireworks outdoors and pointing them away from people, buildings, and animals.

If you have a flat and steady surface, both McAllen Fire Department Public Information Officer, Dr. Lucas Garcia and Bode suggest setting up all explosives there.

If fireworks are not handled properly, Dr. Garcia said it could lead to a loss of life and property.

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According to a 2020 report from the National Fire Prevention Association, 19,500 fires across the United States on New Year’s Eve are due to fireworks which caused five deaths and 46 injuries.

The NFPA also shows those firework-related fires resulting in $105 million in property damage.

Although the City of McAllen deems it illegal to shoot off fireworks of any kind, the McAllen Fire Department wants everyone to know, “if it does seem to be getting out of control, you wanna reach out to local authorities immediately and as quickly as possible that way the professionals can come in and help.”

Dr. Garcia added that McAllen Fire Department’s dispatchers are able to walk firework-related fire victims through basic procedures of trying to put out the fire before the fire department arrives.

Among the list of cities who deem fireworks illegal within city limits include Harlingen, Edinburg, Brownsville, South Padre Island, Pharr, Mission, and Rio Grande City.

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South Padre Island does not allow firework shooting within city limits or on the beach by civilians.

Anyone caught with illegal fireworks could face a fine, but how much that fine is varies from city to city.

The city of Weslaco does allow fireworks, according to Weslaco Fire Department Station 3.

For more information on the legality of fireworks in your city, contact your local Fire Marshal.

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