BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Fire Department is sending out a message this year when it comes to fireworks on the 4th of July: leave it to the professionals.
Fireworks are illegal in East Baton Rouge Parish, and anyone caught using them could face criminal charges.
"People fail to realize when you set off some kind of firework, some kind of skyrocket or something. It has to come down somewhere. It could come down in an open field that has dry grass. It could possibly start a brush fire," said Mark Miles with the BRFD.
Miles said fireworks aren't a widespread problem in Baton Rouge, but because they're legal in neighboring parishes like Ascension and Livingston, people can go out and buy them in those parishes. He said there's concerns about starting fires and causing injuries.
"Even sparklers that seem harmless have been known to start fires, cause serious burns on your hand and cause things of that nature like that," he said.
Anyone caught using fireworks in East Baton Rouge Parish could face up to six months in jail or a $500 fine.
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office does have recommendations for people who decide to use their own fireworks in legal areas:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children can suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.