Sheriff issues fireworks warning, urges safety precautions

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Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol would like to remind all residents that while some sparklers and other modest
fireworks are legal over the
July 4 period — most types of fireworks are still illegal and residents should avoid buying — or using — illegal ones.

Use of an illegal firework can be punishable with a misdemeanor, the sheriff said.

Maciol said that law enforcement agencies across the county have seen a “significant increase” in the number of fireworks-related complaints over the past several weeks, especially at night. Maciol said that “nearly all” of the complaints involved the types of fireworks that are illegal, which is any type of firework that is lit from the bottom and produces explosion sounds, usually either rising into the air and exploding or projecting into the air.

Examples of illegal fireworks include firecrackers, M80s, flaming balls, bottle rockets, mortars, spinners and roman candles.

According to Maciol, state and county laws allow only “sparkling devices” to be used between June 1 and July 5. These include ground-based fireworks and handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks or colored flame, like traditional sparklers. Maciol said the law limits the type, size and construction of these sparkling devices, and requires that they be hand held or mounted on a base or spike in the ground. The size must be within 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

The sheriff said he has received complaints from residents, town supervisors and village mayors over the use of loud fireworks over the past several weeks. Anyone who wishes to file a complaint about fireworks in their neighborhood is asked to call the non-emergency phone line for their local law enforcement agency. The non-emergency line for the Sheriff’s Office is 315-736-0141.

The non-emergency line for the Rome Police Department is 315-339-7780.

Safety tips:

Always follow the directions located on the packaging.

All sparklers are for outdoor use only, never use indoors.

Always wear eye protection when using sparklers.

Never light more than one sparkler at a time.

Never point a sparkler tube towards anyone or any part of your body.

Keep sparklers and novelty devices in a safe secure location when not in use.

Never use sparklers when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Always keep an approved fire extinguisher nearby during a display.

Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.

Douse malfunctioning and spent devices with water before discarding to prevent a fire.

Purchase sparklers and novelty devices from registered retailers.

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