“Find a safe area and enjoy the New Year,” said Pell City Police Chief Greg Turley.
Turley said people using fireworks during New Year’s Eve celebrations should not be careless or reckless with fireworks.
He said most complaints the police department receives on New Year’s Eve are reports of someone shooting fireworks towards houses.
Turley said people using fireworks also need to pay attention to the time and shouldn’t shoot fireworks too long after midnight Friday.
“Make sure you use them (fireworks) for what they were intended for,” said Pell City Fire Chief James Parsons, adding that anyone using fireworks should keep a water hose close by.
He said never light fireworks inside a home or building.
“You wouldn’t believe the people who shoot them inside,” Parsons said.
He said eye protection is a good idea, and spectators should stay a safe distance from someone who is setting off fireworks.
Alabama State Fire Marshal Edward Paulk said it is illegal for anyone to discharge fireworks within 600 feet of any enclosed building, shoot fireworks into or from a motor vehicle, or to shoot any fireworks toward people.
He said children younger than 16-years-old must be supervised by an adult when purchasing or using fireworks.
Paulk said children younger than 14 should not handle fireworks.
“Fireworks can be a source of great family entertainment, but they burn very hot,” Paulk said. “Fireworks are not intended to be handled by children.”
People should use caution when lighting fireworks, he said.
“Never hold lighted firework items in your hand and never look into a tube to check on a firework item,” Paulk said. “When lighting fireworks at night, use a flashlight to illuminate the fuse and to make the proper ignition possible. Light the firework item and get away quickly.”
He said to use fireworks in clear, open areas with an ample water supply and fire extinguisher on hand.
“Use fireworks only outdoors in a clear area away from flammables and combustibles,” Paulk said. “Here in the South, combustibles may include dry grass and leaves as well as paper, other fireworks or anything that will easily catch fire and burn.”
He said in dry time, have a water source handy and wet down the area where you intend to shoot fireworks.
“Always light fireworks on hard, flat, and level surfaces to insure stability,” Paulk said. “Grass will not support items nor provide the stability needed to shoot fireworks in a safe manner.”
He said people should not use malfunctioning or “dud” fireworks.
“Never attempt to re-light, alter or fix any firework item that does not ignite the first time,” Paulk said.
He said people shooting off fireworks should also wear fire proof or fire resistant clothing.
“Do not use alcohol while enjoying fireworks,” Paulk said. “If you are impaired in any way when you use fireworks, you increase the possibilities of misuse and injury to yourself and others.”
He said pay attention to weather conditions, such as dry and windy conditions.
“A shift in the wind or an increase in wind speed can adversely affect fireworks,” Paulk said.
He also said be sure your fireworks are legal and purchased from a reputable dealer, as well as inspected and permitted by the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Paulk said in Alabama last year there was at least one fireworks related fatality and numerous injuries related to the use of fireworks.
“In addition, damage and destruction to residences, businesses, timber, crops, cars and even tractors have resulted from careless or illegal use of fireworks,” Paulk said. “Respect fireworks because if improperly used, they are dangerous.”