Keep the 4th of July safe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Keep the 4th of July safe

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Fireworks are a traditional part of man Independence Day celebrations. Unfortunately, the good time can come to end quickly, when careless and inappropriate use of the fireworks results in fires, injuries, and even death.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety in 2009 there were around 5,900 fireworks related injuries across the country during the 4th of July season.

In Iowa fireworks and firecrackers are illegal, but that doesn't mean there aren't risks.

When you walk into your local super store here in Iowa this is what you'll find sparklers, snakes, and maybe a few caps. While they aren't the most exciting party favor for your 4th of July party caution still needs to be taken.

"Sparklers cause burns or a fire," said Fire Marshal Steve Jordan.

While your 4th of July may only include party poppers or snakes and sparklers it could be all for the best. If you're caught with a fire work or fire cracker you could face the long arm of the law.

"You can go across the border and buy them in some of the border states and it's not illegal to do that but if you come to Iowa and you use them or sell them that is illegal and it's a simple misdemeanor and you can be charged with that," said Captain Tim Pillack of the Waterloo Police Department.

A simple misdemeanor carries with it a $65 to $625 fine and the chance for up to 30 days in jail.

"We encourage people to not use fireworks. We get a lot of complaints. We will go our and investigate those complaints. If we do find that you are using fireworks we'll seize them and we'll site you. In Iowa they're illegal to use. It's that simple," said Pillack.

Some tips recommended by the National Council on Fireworks Safety include only a person over the age of 12 should be allowed the handle sparklers. Alcohol and fireworks don't mix and do not use homemade fire works or illegal explosives.

The Iowa State Fire Marshal's office estimates approximately 350 Iowans sustain fireworks-related injuries serious enough to require medical treatment each year.

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