Officials caution: Fireworks come with danger

By Jessi Haish

This year, leaving the spectacle to the professionals may be the safest route.

Although officials remind citizens that fireworks are illegal in Illinois, precaution needs to be taken by those who still choose to use illegal fireworks.

According to the 2012 Fireworks Annual Report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in about 8,700 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2012.

Lt. Luke Howieson, a DeKalb fire prevention officer, said there is potential for serious injuries by shooting off fireworks at home.

“Last year we did have a couple injuries,” Howieson said. “We recommend that they go to a live show by professionals.”

Much like last year, police officers may field complaint calls in regard to citizens shooting off fireworks.

Chad McNett, DeKalb community relations officer, stressed that at-home fireworks should be avoided.

“Basically, anything that explodes is illegal,” McNett said. “We warn and confiscate. Citations can also be issued, but it depends on the circumstances.”

McNett said extra officers are put on crowd control near Hopkins Park, 1403 Sycamore Road, on the night of the fourth. The Fourth of July celebration held at Hopkins Park is sponsored by the DeKalb Parks Department and the city. McNett urged residents to attend a show like that at Hopkins Park rather than try an at-home show.

McNett hopes for a safe holiday this year.

“There have been no major problems over the years,” McNett said. “Knock on wood that this year will be the same.”