Firefighters offer fireworks safety tips

Firefighters offer fireworks safety tips »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - Fireworks are now on sale in Oregon, so it's the perfect time for some reminders about what's safe and what isn't.

Portland Fire Lieutenant Tommy Schroeder says the packages you buy at retail stands in the state contain those legal fireworks. What makes a firework legal?

"It's not emitting sparks greater than six feet into the air," Schroeder says.

And what can happen if you're caught with something illegal like a Roman candle, bottle rocket or firecrackers? He adds, "In the city of Portland, you can be fined up to a thousand dollars."
    
And this year there will be fire inspectors patrolling with police looking for those illegal displays. Last year, Portland Fire crews responded to 26 fires caused by fireworks on July 4. There were five injuries reported, including one man who blew up his hand and four people hurt when a firework flew into a crowd.

Some more safety tips involve how you set up your home display. Lt. Schroeder says don't get all the fireworks out at once, and keep them a safe distance from the ones you're lighting. He also says it's best to "be about 20 feet away from a structure, have a bucket of water ready, a lighter and eye protection and gloves if you can get that stuff."

Keep the family at a safe distance as well as your pets. Multnomah County Animal Services says they see an uptick of nearly 25 percent when it comes to intake of cats and dogs in the 10 days surrounding the Fourth. Best to keep them inside if they're afraid of the noise.

And of course, if you just don't want to fool with the home displays, you can always leave it to the pros and head to one of the big shows around the area.

Learn more: Where to watch professional fireworks in the area