HOUSTON – Fireworks are allowed in Houston on July 4 and New Years and authorities warn that with this freedom comes certain responsibilities.
“Everybody loves to shoot fireworks, but they need to do it right and know the rules,” said Houston Police Chief Billy Voyles. “If we get a call that they are being shot illegally, we have to respond and we will take away your fireworks.”
Voyles said what typically happens is someone bothers a neighbor or shoots fireworks late at night.
“If someone asks you to stop shooting, you need to be a good neighbor and stop,” said Voyles. “I also feel parents need to supervise their children. Fireworks can hurt you.”
Voyles said patrolmen who spot kids shooting fireworks without an adult will also have their fireworks confiscated.
Houston Fire Department Captain Jonathan Blankenship agreed.
“Fireworks need to be age appropriate and you don’t need to let a 5-year-old shoot those big skyrockets,” said Blankenship. “I also want to point out parents are 100 percent responsible for any fire or injury prompted by their children.
“If the fire starts on your property and moves to a neighbor’s shed or yard, you are liable, too,” he added.
Houston saw rain last week, but Blankenship said grass is dry and wind can quickly turn a spark from a bottlerocket or firecracker into a wildfire.
Blankenship said three simple safety measures can make the difference between safe fireworks and a tragic accident.
PARENTS: Adult supervision is critical to keeping fireworks from getting out of hand. Parents need to join in the fun and be ready to tell their children “no” if they do something unsafe.
PREVENTION: A nearby garden hose or fire extinguisher can stop a fire before it gets out of hand. Sprinkling your yard before shooting fireworks can keep an accident from happening.
PLACE: Streets and open spaces are good places to shoot fireworks. Fireworks are allowed year round in the county, but watch out for traffic and dry grass.
Blankenship said he will be working July 4th and he hopes the community will celebrate their independence but also be safe.
“Every year people get hurt and even killed by fireworks,” said Blankenship. “It doesn’t have to be that way if people will just think safety and use a little common sense.”