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police & fire

Greenwich Police Offer Safety Tips For Fireworks

GREENWICH, Conn. – Two separate town-sponsored firework displays won’t stop some residents from setting off their own pyrotechnics to light up the Greenwich skies for July 4, but the Greenwich Police Department wants to remind everyone of the dangers.

“Summer festivities often include watching fireworks during Independence Day celebrations, but illegal fireworks can cause serious injuries to people, property and are disruptive to the peace of a neighborhood,” Police Chief Jim Heavey said in a statement, adding that nationwide, 3,400 children were injured by fireworks last year. Of these injuries, more than 70 percent occurred in the weeks surrounding July 4.

Most fireworks are illegal in Connecticut except “sparklers” or “fountains.” These are nonexplosive, nonaerial devices containing less than 100 grams of pyrotechnic mixture. They can be legally used only by those age 16 or older.

“Officers often simplify the explanation to: If it goes 'pop' or 'flies around' it’s no good. If it makes pretty colors in a shower of 'sparks' it’s OK,” Lt. Kraig Gray, spokesman for the department, said in a statement.

However, many merchants sell illegal fireworks packaged as novelty items such as: party poppers, snakes, smoke devices and anything that emits a flame.

To see if fireworks are legal, look for a manufacturer’s name on each item or packaging. Each device should also list instructions for proper use and have cautionary labeling, which are required by law. Any fireworks that does not include this information is probably illegal and should be avoided.

“If you suspect that you have illegal fireworks contact the police,” said Gray. “Of course, always purchase these items from a known merchant and not from the back of someone’s car or garage.”

No matter how small, any exploding device can be dangerous. Here are a few safety tips for handling fireworks:

• Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

• Never use consumer fireworks indoors.

• Never give fireworks to young children.

• Always wear safety glasses.

• Always have a bucket of water or water hose nearby.

• Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

“The Fourth of July is an important American holiday and one which traditionally includes the use of fireworks. The safest choice is to leave fireworks to the professionals,” Heavey said.

The town of Greenwich will sponsor two fireworks displays in celebration of Independence Day – one at Binney Park and one at Greenwich Point – on July 7 at dusk.

At Greenwich Point, a DJ will be stationed near the South Concession area beginning at 7 p.m. to provide music for the evening. The display will be fired from the corner of Greenwich Point at Bluff Point.

The Point will be closed when the parking spaces are filled, and the rules for access will be the same as usual. At 8:30 p.m. the Point will be closed to all traffic and will close immediately after the fireworks. Spectators are urged to car pool, plan ahead and be patient. Town safety personnel and police will be on hand to provide medical coverage and direct traffic.

The display at Binney Park will feature the Sound Beach Community Band performing at 7:30 p.m. on the Showmobile near the flag pole beside Sound Beach Avenue. Grills, cooking and open fires are prohibited at the park. Pets should never be brought to any fireworks displays.

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