This New Year Think Safety First When Setting Off Fireworks

The New Year's ball is a staple in the Big Apple for millions welcoming in each new year.  And as the ball drops in New York, some East Texans here at home are looking forward to ringing in the new year their own way.

Brian Manley with Union Fireworks said he sells happiness.   He's been in the fireworks business for nearly a decade.  "A lot of these kids, we see them year after year, and we feel like we've raised them practically," he said.

From Black Cats to Roman Candles, kids and adults alike have been eager to send the old year off with a bang.  But some officials say, as excitement for the new year rises, so should awareness.

"You see so many injuries as a direct result of playing with fireworks, or discharging them unsupervised," said Deputy Fire Marshall James Suggs with the Tyler Fire Department.  He said those injuries are ones he hopes to avoid.

According to a 2006 report by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 10,800 people were treated for fireworks related injuries.

Nearly half of the victims were children under the age of 14.  And when fireworks are involved, there's a greater risk for fires--nearly 30,000 each year from fireworks related incidents alone.

"While you may be fire safe, it's your responsibility to protect those who can't protect themselves," said Suggs.

Tyler police also say selling, purchasing, and setting off fireworks within the city limits is against the law, a Class C misdemeanor.   And violators can be fined up to $500.

If you do plan on buying fireworks, make sure you get them from a reliable source, and follow instruction labels.

Always use adult supervision when kids are around.

Never set off your fireworks around buildings, trees, and shrubs to reduce the risk of fire.

And keep some water nearby just in case.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.