Officials urge safe, legal use of fireworks

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- With the Fourth of July just two days away, fireworks are in high demand. Officials in the Chicago area are urging safe usage of fireworks, and knowing what is legal and what is not legal.

FULL LIST: Chicago-area Fourth of July fireworks displays

On Wednesday, Indiana fireworks shops are doing brisk business. Larry Fitzpatrick is stocking up for his annual backyard party.

"We're gonna start making some noise. Hopefully it's fun for everybody. We normally wear the neighborhood out," said Fitzpatrick.

Because most fireworks are illegal in Illinois, stores like Hammond's Dynamite have a section specifically dedicated to smaller items like snakes and party-poppers that are allowed in Chicago. Big or small however, owner Kris Zambo says it's important to emphasize safety.

"We want to make sure nobody gets hurt. Some of the items have gotten big in the last few years, so we do a lot of demos. We have a lot of our more costly items on video so people can see them before they purchase," said Zambo.

Still injuries continue to happen. In Illinois, 116 injuries were reported last year as a result of illegal fireworks use.

"Thirty to 40 percent of those were dismemberments, and 30-40 percent were burns. There are eye injuries, also. One in every five injuries from fireworks is to the eyes," said Deputy Chief Joe Roccasalva, Chicago Fire Dept.

For those living in areas where amateur firework use is legal, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following:
-Never allow young children to play with fireworks.

-Light fireworks one at a time and move back quickly.

-Don't place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting a fuse.

-Don't re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

-Be careful what you buy.

"You want to not go with re-wrapped type items. A brand name is always the way to go. It's a lot more safe, a lot more reliable," said Zambo.

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