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Bend fire officials offer tips for safe Fourth of July

By Kandra Kent
Published On: Jun 23 2013 10:10:31 PM CDT

Bend Fire Department officials say keep fireworks legal and keep kids and pets away from lighting areas.

BEND, Ore. -

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and fireworks sales began in Oregon on Sunday.

It's a fun time of year for many, but it can also be dangerous.

Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering wanted to share a few tips to keep people safe during festivities.

Kettering said one of the biggest problems is often illegal fireworks. Fireworks that fly, travel or explode more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air are illegal in Oregon.

Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers are illegal.

She said fire officials will be checking permits of fireworks stands around Bend, and people must purchase their fireworks from permitted retailers.

Kettering says it is especially important to keep fireworks, lighters and matches away from children.

In Oregon, it is legal for children 16 and older to light fireworks, but Kettering said in Bend, you must be older than 18 to buy, possess or light a firework.

She said children and pets should be kept away from lighting areas, and it's a good idea to keep a bucket of water or hose nearby.

Kettering also said you should never re-light a dud firework. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.

Despite efforts to keep people safe, Kettering said they always respond to dozens of fireworks-related calls around the Fourth.

"Every year. we respond to a lot of incidents where fireworks are involved," Kettering said. "And that can be anything from injuries to burns to grass fires, or even structure fires."

She said the most common fireworks-related  emergency call is typically for brush fires.

Last year, there were 161 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon, resulting in 26 injuries and more than $250,000 in property damages.

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