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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Holiday arrives with a bang

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Employees of Groner's Fireworks stock tables.
MINER - With only a week until the Fourth of July, fireworks tents are open and sales are officially in full swing.

Despite the threat of terrorism and the nation being at war, fireworks retailers expect large crowds and expect sales will be normal or possibly higher since the holiday falls on the weekend.

Rachael Groner, co-owner of Groner's Fireworks, said: "I think the holiday being on the weekend will encourage more people to travel and be with their families."

"It's probably going to be busy all week," said Albert Mays, who owns and operates Mays Brothers Fireworks with his brother, Lewis.

Groner and Angie Groves, co-owner of Reeves Boomland in Benton, agreed with Mays. They advised customers to shop as early as possible. "The sooner you get out here, the more variety you will have to choose from," Groner remarked.

"Avoid the crowd and shop during the week," Groves said. "It will be a madhouse in here on Sunday." She suggested some of their crowd will also be due to their July 4th drawing for electric scooters and fireworks assortments.

Retailers report having well-trained staff and encourage customers to inquire for help if needed.

When shopping, the three retailers also suggested buying child-friendly fireworks, so children can also be a part of the festivities.

Groner said colored smoke balls appear to be the best-sellers for youth. "We also have a designated 'kiddie area' that's filled with fireworks for kids," she said.

Morning glories, sparklers, and snap and pops are some of the fireworks the retailers recommend for youth.

Mays noted their stand has a variety of novelty items for youth. Boomland also offers several items, including an assortment just for kids.

Those who purchase fireworks should be aware of their city laws. While shooting off fireworks in the Sikeston city limits is illegal, each city has different regulations. Most importantly, retailers urge customers to use safe practices when shooting off fireworks.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that about 8,500 people are treated each year for fireworks injuries. Approximately 2,000 of these annual injuries are eye-related, according to the American Academy of Opthamology.

All three retailers supplied tips on how to avoid becoming a statistic. They highly advise that an adult be present when all fireworks are being used, even those manufactured for children.

Mays recommended several safety precautions. "Always read the labeling, and don't use anything without a label. Be sure to purchase your fireworks from a reputable supplier."

"Only light one at a time and move back quickly once the fuse has been ignited," Groves said. "You should never attempt to relight a firework that has failed to ignite."

Groves said fireworks should be shot on a flat surface such as a table or barrel braced with blocks or bricks. This gives a better display, as well as provides a flat and stable surface for shooting fireworks.

She and Groner agreed it is definitely dangerous to set off fireworks near very dry grass or a farmer's field. "Those are very bad ideas," Groner said.

Groner also proposed having some type of water source close by. The water is handy in case of a fire.

A few other tips recommended by American Promotional Events are: never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting, never carry any fireworks in a pocket or purse, and do not throw fireworks or point them at other people.

Retailers highly discourage using fuses to build displays. "That is just like manufacturing fireworks. These individual products have been tested and retested in the United States, but you don't know what's going to happen if you combine them," Mays stated.

"There's one fuse per firework and they do that for a reason," Groner added. "Using fuses to build displays is just as dangerous as mixing chemicals."

Mays also mentioned an easy but often overlooked precaution. "A big tip that a lot of people don't realize is to keep your excess fireworks away from the ones that you are shooting off."

Most importantly, remember to use common sense, said Groves. "Fireworks are just as safe as the person that shoots them."