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Firefighters share best tips for fireworks safety

By Shara Park | Posted - Jul. 1, 2011 at 6:12 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Because of changes in firework laws, Utahns now have bigger and more dangerous fireworks available this holiday weekend -- and that has many firefighters worried.

"The clearance in the past for fireworks for the state of Utah has been 15 feet," said Capt. Mark Bednarik with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. "Now we have upwards of 150 feet these fireworks can go, and I don't think a lot of people are ready for that."

To be ready for these explosive "cake" fireworks -- and the hundreds of others on sale this year -- firefighters have a few reminders to keep your family safe.

First, find a flat surface to light your fireworks.

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"If you are going to do them on grass or gravel, we recommend you put down plywood and give it a solid base," Bednarik said.

Next, give yourself plenty of distance. Bednarik recommends having over 30 feet of leeway.

"That's where we recommend setting up your audience to watch this," he said.

Never light your fireworks in a covered area like a carport or garage.

Bednarik says follow the recommended guidelines on each firework, and don't let kids light them.

When it comes to disposing of the used fireworks, place them in a bucket of water first.

"We've had garbage can fires start before because people put these in while they're still smoldering inside and not realize that," Bednarik said.

And when it comes to sparklers, which can get hot enough to melt glass, never hand them to your child while they're burning.

"One of the most common injuries in fireworks is to children under the age of 12," Bednarik said. "We just want to make sure children are safe. We don't want to have to deal with anyone being burned this holiday season."

Email: spark@ksl.com

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Shara Park

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