By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Millions of Americans will be recognizing Independence Day next week, and the city of Newkirk is opening the Country Club to the public for firework celebrations. City leaders are urging caution to those participating to prevent injuries and fires, as well as to cleanup their fireworks before they leave.
The Country Club is located at 3701 E. Dry Road, and will be open until about 10:30 p.m. Friday, July 2 – Sunday, July 4.Participants can shoot off fireworks along the east side of the entrance road between the softball field and boxcar. Fireworks will not be allowed at the shelter house or fair lanes.
The city requires that all trash be disposed of after firing off the fireworks.
“Citizens are asked to remove any trash and put it by the dumpsters,” said City Manager Ryan Smykil.
Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but they aren’t without their risks, which includes injuries and fires.
“Safety is paramount when it comes to fireworks,” Fire Chief Adam Longcrier said.
One way injuries can occur is attempting to relight a firework that didn’t ignite. Instead, the firework should be put out in water.
Participants should also keep a distance when lighting fireworks, including firecrackers.
“You should use a long lighter, or punk, to light a firework. Never put your face over a firework,” Longcrier said.
Safety for children is one of the most important factors when celebrating the holiday.
“Kids love sparklers, so just use caution when your kids have sparklers,” Longcrier said. “The temperature can reach 1,000 degrees, and every year, we deal with burns because of sparklers.”
Larger fireworks, especially those that require tubes for launching, have their own unique risks, and should only be used on a level surface.
“Last year, we dealt with an incident where a tube fell over and shot the firework toward a group of people, so make sure your tube is on a flat, level surface, and is not going to fall over,” Longcrier said.
There also is a risk of fires due to fireworks, so make sure all fireworks are out before disposal.
“Every year, we fight multiple dumpster fires from fireworks that people put in the dumpster while they are still hot, so make sure they are completely out,” Longcrier said. “We would prefer that you bring a bucket of water with you, or have another way to snuff out hot fireworks.”
The NFD will be on call in case of fires or injuries.
Setting off fireworks is illegal within city limits.
“Doing fireworks inside city limits is illegal; that is why we open the Country Club,” Longcrier said. “You can be ticketed for fireworks inside city limits, so go out to the Country Club and be safe.”