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Leave fireworks to the pros

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Nothing signals the start of a holiday celebration like an explosion.

It just doesn't feel like Independence Day without that unmistakable flash and boom, the brilliant colors falling from a night sky, and the lingering odor of gunpowder.
Fireworks make the holiday special, but they can also create tragedy.

"If people want to enjoy fireworks this holiday weekend, we recommend they attend a commercial, public fireworks display," said Brad Truver, Schriever's assistant chief of fire prevention. "Leave the fireworks to the professionals."

In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency personnel treated more than 8,700 people for firework-related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

"These statistics include sparklers," Truver said. "They may seem harmless, but they burn at 1,200 degrees."

Indeed, sparklers, fountains and novelties accounted for 25 percent of those 2012 emergency room treatments.

In Colorado Springs, people who ignite their own fireworks not only risk injuring themselves or others, they risk legal consequences as well.

"Fireworks are banned in Colorado Springs city limits and city police have instituted a zero-tolerance policy. Violators are subject to a $2,500 fine and up to 189 days in jail," Truver said. "Last year, these fines were $500 and 90 days in jail. Even though we've been fortunate to receive more moisture this summer than the past couple of years, it's still dangerously dry."

City police plan to deploy extra patrols to actively look for and cite fireworks violations
Anyone ticketed for using fireworks will be required to appear in court and those who injure others or cause property damage could face arson charges.

It's a different story outside the city though. El Paso County has not issued a fireworks ban, but anything that explodes or flies through the air is prohibited.

"Over this holiday weekend, take a moment to reflect on the meaning of the 4th of July and the sacrifices of those before us who secured the freedoms we enjoy today," said Tech. Sgt. Alejandro Torres, 50 SW NCO in charge of ground safety. "Also reflect on how safety and risk management can help protect you and your families, allowing you to continue to serve our nation and protect these freedoms we enjoy."

Area fireworks displays this holiday weekend

Colorado Springs: 2013 Fabulous Fourth of July - Memorial Park
Date: July 4
Time: 7:30 p.m. park opens at 5:30 p.m.
Location: Memorial Park, Colorado Springs
Cost: Free and open to the public.

Fort Carson: Fourth on July 3rd
Date: July 3
Time: 4 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Location: Iron Horse Park at Fort Carson
Cost: free and open to the public (must have photo identification to enter)
More information call 526-1867

Sky Sox Stadium: Independence Day Celebration and Baseball Thursday
Sky Sox baseball game followed by a fireworks show. The game starts with the Sky Sox vs. Reno Aces at 7:05 with fireworks display following the game.
Date: July 3
Time: 7:05 pm
Location: Sky Sox Stadium

Manitou Springs Fireworks on July 4th
Date: July 4
Time: Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Location: Can be viewed from Manitou Springs downtown area
More information call the Manitou Springs Volunteer Fire Department at 719-685-1444
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