Enjoy a safe Fourth of July

Published 9:29 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

This week as we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, I want to remind you of fireworks safety. Since Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act of 2011was enacted, injury reports have increased. Last year there were estimated 11,400 fireworks related injuries nationwide. Injuries aren’t tracked by state but there was also 8,700 in 2012 and 9,600 in 2011.

According to Michigan Fire Marshal Richard Miller, the new fireworks law led to better regulation and monitoring, and unannounced visits are made to ensure vendors are following rules. Since most of America’s fireworks come from China, there is a safety test before they are loaded and shipped to us and then the safety commission works with Customs and Borders Protection to take samples and test them to make sure the fireworks are not too powerful.

If you are using fireworks this year, follow manufacture directions when using, including proper lighting procedures and placement of the item.

The instructions only go so far. There is a certain amount of human factor also included. Do not use fireworks in enclosed spaces. Keep away from flammable objects. Remember other people and pets around you when you light the item. Alcohol and drugs don’t mix with fireworks.

Never allow children to play with fireworks of any kind. Only use fireworks outside. Only light devices on smooth, flat surfaces away from residential areas, dry leaves, and flammable material. Always keep a hose or bucket of water nearby in case of malfunction. Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. Make this an enjoyable and safe holiday for all.

When enjoying the fireworks, remember your pets and combat veterans. Be courteous to both. Pets may become afraid of the loud noises. Citizens may not understand what a combat vet went through and understand why the noise affects them also.

I would also like to remind our readers once again of technology to alert you via your phone of emergency weather. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) reminds Michiganders that newer mobile phones are automatically enabled to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

“Many people have been asking questions about Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA),” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “This is a life-saving technology that helps inform the public about a potential life-threating situation. When these alerts are received at the right time, they can help direct you to safety during an emergency or disaster.”

Known as WEA for short, these alerts are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities — such as the National Weather Service and state and local emergency response officials—through a user’s mobile carrier. If an imminent threat does occur and an alert is sent, a WEA-capable mobile phone will emit a special emergency tone or vibration with a text-like instructional message.

There are three different kinds of alerts: Imminent threats, such as extreme weather and other life-threating emergencies in your area, AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency

Mobile phone users are not charged for receiving these notifications and are automatically enrolled to receive them. Users may opt out of receiving imminent threat warnings and AMBER Alerts; however, they may not opt out from receiving Presidential Alerts.


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