GREENSBURG — Decatur Countians who want to experience the best, safest fireworks display possible are best advised to “let the professionals do the fireworks,” according to Fire Chief Scott Chasteen.
“Don’t even bother with home fireworks,” the chief said. “Get the family together, pack some sandwiches and sodas, find a good spot [on the fairgrounds lawn] and watch the professionals.
“There are a lot of people that spend a lot of time and money to put on professional, well done fireworks shows,” Chasteen said. “Our local Parks and Recreation Department brings in a company that always does an exceptional job. Lake Santee puts on a fireworks show every year, too, and all the neighboring communities do a good job with their shows.”
Chasteen understands, of course, that not all Decatur Countians will heed that advice, and so offered tips for people who simply must stage their own displays.
The chief said that many people are surprised to learn that the most dangerous consumer firework of all is the sparkler. It is deceptively dangerous, because the lack of an explosion leads people to allow their children to hold the stick, not realizing that the sparkler burns at between 1,200 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, Chasteen said.
After the sparkler peters out, a glowing, red-hot stick remains, which people set down on the concrete or discard into their yards. “Kids step on them or to touch this glowing red stick,” Chasteen said, “and we have a badly burned child.”
Chasteen, who has witnessed sparkler-related injuries, implored Decatur Countians to take extra caution with sparklers.
“There are just so many angles that can make these things turn bad,” he said. “The reality is that they’re anything BUT kid friendly.”
The best advice for children and safety with sparklers applies to all fireworks, the chief said. “Never let a child handle, play with or light ANY firework without adult supervision.”