SPD warns of celebratory gunfire, fireworks

Published 12:16 pm Saturday, December 30, 2017

BY ADAM DODSON | Times-Journal

Two times every year, New Year’s and the Fourth of July, fireworks become Americans’ favorite way to celebrate.

Firework-related deaths, injuries and illegal activity take place across the state and the country.

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According to a 2016 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has been an average of 7.1 fireworks-related deaths per year, with a minimum of 4 deaths occurring last year.  In 2016 alone, there were 11,100 injuries that resulted from fireworks. The most common of these injuries were burns to the hand and lacerations to the face.

Young people around 24 years old and younger, made up the largest portion of those affected by fireworks injuries.

Males around the 20-24 age range had the highest injury rate followed by children under 5 years. Children younger than 15 accounted for 31 percent of all injuries that occurred.

“A lot of people still choose to light fireworks during New Year’s,” said Selma Police Sergeant Ray Blanks. “I would advise to use extreme care with fireworks and to make sure kids always have adult supervision.”

Common firework safety tips include:

•Never place body parts over fireworks.

•Stay at a safe distance after a firework is lit.

•Only light them one at a time, as lighting multiple ones at once increases the chance of injury or death.

•Keep fireworks away from children.

•“Safer” fireworks such as sparklers can be dangerous as well if not monitored correctly.

The state of Alabama allows the use of fireworks from Dec. 15 through Jan. 1.

While Dallas County abides by these same rules, the city of Selma itself bans the selling, buying and use of fireworks within the city limits.

It is only legal to bring fireworks into the Selma city limits, but these fireworks must have been purchased legally and still do not permit the usage of them. Selling, purchasing or using fireworks in Selma is a misdemeanor with a penalty of $500

Another issue in Selma around New Year’s is celebratory gunfire shot up into the air.

This is used in place of fireworks by some people but could lead to death, injury or destruction of property.

Bullets shot into the air have to come down somewhere, police say.

To prevent death or injury during the holidays, residents are advised to refrain from shooting their guns up in the air.

According to Sergeant Blanks, celebratory gunfire is “highly prohibited.”