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Stay safe this Fourth of July

PRINCETON – It’s almost time for Fourth of July celebrations - fireworks, a backyard barbecue or maybe a trip to a beach. Whatever people have planned, it’s important to have fun and stay safe this holiday.

Local law officials are reminding the public its illegal for residents to use any type of firework that has an explosive-type component.

Princeton Fire Chief Chuck Woolley said smoke bombs and handheld sparklers are the only legal firework in the state.

He also said just this past May, state officials have made Chinese lanterns illegal. The lanterns would involve users to insert a small 30-second burning candle into the small paper lantern and release them into the sky. Woolley said officials have discovered the lanterns could produce a flame longer than 30 seconds and could land into dry areas or on top of houses, producing a major fire hazard.

Sheriff John Thompson said purchasing fireworks across state lines and bringing them into Illinois is illegal, and violators could be ticketed.

Spring Valley Police Chief Kevin Sangston said his office receives many complaints around the Fourth of July. He said if they do receive several complaints at the same address, the resident can be ticketed under the firework or city’s noise ordinances.
For families who are lighting off legal fireworks, make sure an adult is the one supervising and lighting the firework.

Woolley said to make sure the location where the firework is being lit isn’t a dry grassy area which can catch fire quickly and easily. He said to also make sure fireworks are cooled down before they are discarded. Also, have an adult read the manufacturer’s recommendation on the side of the firework.

“If it says to wear safety glasses, then do it. When the firework goes off, it may shoot pieces that could get into someone’s eye,” he warned.

Thompson said once the holiday is finished, people need to put away any unused fireworks.

“The Fourth of July should be a fun time for families and friends, but safety is always the first priority,” he said.

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Tips for fireworks safety
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:
• Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
• Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
• Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
• Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
• Store fireworks on a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
• Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
• Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
Source: American Red Cross.
Going to the fireworks?
Fireworks in the area begin at dark in the following locations:
Spring Valley — Wednesday
Mineral — Wednesday
Hennepin — Thursday
Kewanee — Thursday
Princeton — Thursday
Walnut — Sunday
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