Rain sparks fireworks sales, warning from fire officials - WSMV Channel 4

Rain sparks fireworks sales, warning from fire officials

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

All the rain has people heading out to buy their own fireworks, after many professional shows were canceled around the city.

Officials said with the increase in personal sales, taking extra precaution is important to staying safe this Fourth of July weekend.

Fireworks can be dangerous if not used properly. Last year, fireworks accidents sent nearly 9,000 people to emergency rooms.

Business was booming at Dixieland Fireworks in East Ridge on Thursday, where firework-craving patrons were hoping to get their fill.

The wet weather forced nearly every community firework display in the area to cancel. Many people like Craig Snyder and his family decided to get their own supply of bottle rockets and sparklers.

"We hadn't even planned on it. We were going to go watch fireworks," Snyder said.

As these fireworks fly off the shelves, fire officials want you to make sure you're using them properly.

They said the most important thing is following the instructions and warnings, and to keep a bucket of water nearby.

"If you light a firework and it doesn't ignite all the way, you want to wait twenty minutes, and then pick it up and put it in a bucket of water. After you get through igniting all the fireworks, you want to soak those down with water before you put them in the garbage can," said Charles Patton, District 3 Battalion Chief of the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Patton said that 20 minute rule is important because what might seem like a dud can explode in your hand if you try to re-light it. He said it's one of the most common types of injuries he's seen.

They may not be the biggest fireworks in the store, but 50% of all fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers, re loadable shells, firecrackers and roman candles. That's why Snyder said he's going to handle the lighter.

"I'll be shooting them, they can just watch," he said.

Parents with young children should keep sparklers out of their kids' hands. Officials said they're not meant for children. They can burn at 2,000 degrees and can cause serious injury.

The National Fire Protection Association said fireworks can also be a fire hazard. In 2011, the group said fireworks caused nearly 18,000 fires that killed 8 people and hurt 40 others.

Chief Patton told Channel 3 he's never known fireworks to cause a big fire in Chattanooga.

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