A local fire department is urging safety this 4th of July holiday weekend.

Michigan previously made major changes to laws that allow consumer fireworks to be used the day before, the day of and the day after major holidays. Some communities including the City of Brighton enacted an ordinance limiting it to those days. However in communities that did not, people can shoot off fireworks any day of the year – which is the case in some local townships.

Brighton Fire Chief Mike O’Brian tells WHMI they get a lot of complaints, which started last week. Complaints range from dogs barking, people who can’t sleep due to neighbors shooting fireworks and everything in between. He says people get frustrated by the careless use of fireworks and are looking for some help but unfortunately, their hands tied and there is not much they can do to help except educate the public on the proper use of fireworks.

O’Brian says the last thing the fire department wants to do is respond to a home fire or injury because of carelessness with fireworks. He maintains fireworks are best left to the professionals and there are plenty of public shows to enjoy. For those that do decide to use them, he stresses the importance of avoiding alcohol and understanding what you’re going to shoot, what it can do and where it will go. He says it’s important to talk to people about the proper use of fireworks, be courteous to neighbors, keep the safety of people watching a priority and be mindful of surroundings.

Fireworks should leave and return on someone’s same property – not land on a neighbor’s roof, property or other structures. Sparklers are said to be especially dangerous and result in numerous reports of injuries every year. O’Brian noted that most local retailers and others in the region are pretty are reputable but there are still illegal fireworks. Anything consumer grade would be labeled 1.4G. (JM)