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Fireworks safety takes new twist with COVID-19

By Lauren Johnson

While many folks will watch the City of Troy Fireworks display on the Fourth of July, others may opt for at-home displays and celebrations.

Elaine Pinckard, owner of Pinckard’s Firework’s Shop on both Elba Highway and U.S. 231, is keeping safety in mind when it comes to her customers and staff and COVID-19.

“We are limiting the number of people who can be in the store at a time to protect everyone,” she said.

For the store on Elba Highway, the occupancy is limited to 12 people at a time, and for the store on U.S. 231, it is limited to eight people. No children under the age of 16 are allowed without an adult, and only 2 children per adult are allowed.

Pinckard’s will also be offering curbside pickup where customers may request assistance from an employee at the door.

“Depending on how busy we are, we will stay open an hour later on Friday and Saturday if needed. If people come late, we’ll be glad to stay,” Pinckard said.

“All of our fireworks have warning signs labeled on them, and we just ask that costumers read and adhere to those,” she said.

Troy Fire Marshal Brandy Cox said it is illegal to shoot off fireworks within city limits, but for those who choose to use fireworks outside of city limits, he urges citizens to be cautious.

“If you shoot fireworks, make sure you do it in an open area where there’s no overhanging power lines, tree limbs, or anything like that. If an airborne firework hits an object, it will deflect and possibly cause injury or damage,” Cox said.

It is important to use consumer grade fireworks, not homemade. It is also important to never aim fireworks at homes, vehicles, roads, or people. Young children should not handle fireworks nor should anyone who is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

“If one fails to ignite or doesn’t detonate properly, it’s best to leave it alone and not try to re-light it. Injuries occur when someone tries to re-light a firework and it ends up going off,” Cox explained.

It is also important to remember that even sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees, which can cause severe burns. 

For the person who is shooting off the firework, Cox suggests wearing eye protection as many firework injuries come to the eye.

Besides keeping safety in mind when handling fireworks, Cox also wants to remind citizens to be safe when grilling. “We have more incidence toward improper grilling than we do with fireworks, since they’re illegal to use within the city,” he said.

When grilling outside this holiday weekend, make sure you do not use accelerants other than charcoal starter or some natural item to start your charcoal fire. Do not use gasoline.

Cox reminds citizens to keep grills away from structures and overhangs, like carports, because they have a tendency to be a fire hazard. Keep small children away from the grill, never leave the grill unattended, and keep a water source near by. As normal, the fire department will have a full crew on duty to respond to any emergency calls.