Don't be a rocket man this week

Johnson City Press • Jun 30, 2018 at 8:30 AM

Be kind to your neighbors over the few days. Resist the urge to blast them with your noisemakers.

We’re all for celebrating our nation’s birthday, but if you must blow things up to get your 4th on, do so away from residential areas and well before bedtime.

The City of Elizabethton recently joined Johnson City and other local municipalities in banning the use of fireworks within the corporate limits. Unfortunately, those bans don’t seem to deter many residents, who still feel emboldened to make us much noise as humanly possible.

Police are inundated with calls each year from rightfully frustrated residents worn out by their inconsiderate neighbors. There are just too many calls for the cops to cite everyone who ignores the ordinances.

The bombardment is no longer confined to Independence Day. The culprits stock up well ahead of the holiday and unleash their arsenals for days leading up to and after the 4th.

The explosions are particularly annoying for elderly people who rely on hearing aids, workers on swing shifts, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders and pet owners.

Noise isn’t the only concern. Setting off flaming rockets puts both people and property in jeopardy.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 11,100 fireworks injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2016. About 7,600 or 68 percent of those occurred between June 18 and July 18. The agency reported four non-job-related fireworks deaths in 2016. Three of the four fatalities were related to reloadable aerial devices, and one was associated with manufacturing homemade devices. All four victims died from direct fireworks impact.

The National Fire Protection Agency’s most recent report says fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 fires in the U.S. in 2013. Some 28 percent of all fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day, and almost half (47 percent) of fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.

Leave fireworks to the experts. No one wants to see you injured. Your neighbors don’t want you burning down their houses. And they don’t want to listen to your aerial assault.

Let’s all have a safe and courteous week of celebrating America.

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