Fireworks a booming business, retailers promoting safety - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Fireworks a booming business; retailers promoting safety

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Independence Day is just around the corner and people are already stocking up on fireworks.

While the celebration is about patriotism and fun, firework accidents caused at least six deaths and sent more than 8,000 Americans to hospital emergency rooms last year alone. Around 30 percent of those injuries happened to children under the age of 15.

Fireworks are definitely a blast for Eddie Lemons and his family.

"It's once a year, it's Fourth of July, Independence Day." Lemons said while shopping for fireworks.

But experts say Independence Day doesn't go hand in hand with children and fireworks. Lemons says families can become complacent, but he has a safety plan for his children.

"They actually sit behind the car and watch from behind the car, so it's double the amount of feet they're away from the actual fireworks." he said.

Shelton Stalls with the TNT Fireworks Supercenter in Leeds says business is gearing up as the economy appears to be showing signs of improvement, which means customers are ready to put on a show.

"Most people that come in here are looking to do artillery shells, multi-aerials, these big finales we have here."Stalls said.

Stalls said he gives advice to the customers on how to safely handle the products they purchase from the store.

"We try to talk about the wind, the angle of the surface they put things on. Definitely always having water on hand, looking out for power lines." he said.

Captain Jim Coker with the Hoover Police Department also had some advice for people planning their own firework shows next week.

"It only takes a micro-second to have an eye injury or hand injury. Be very careful. Use them the way they should be used."Coker said.

Retailers say it's very important to read the instructions, put fireworks on level ground and to closely monitor children joining in on the fun. Chuck Aldridge with TNT Fireworks says "We try to sell stuff we have for kids that have wood sticks for sparklers instead of metal that keep them from getting so hot."

Experts say putting safety first will help prevent accidents and help make this year's celebrations enjoyable by all.

Some cities like Hoover don't permit fireworks so retailers are asking customers to check with their local law enforcement agencies before getting their celebrations underway.

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