Nearly 200 fireworks-related injuries are reported in Nebraska every year. But people can take some simple steps to avoid the pain.

Fireworks sales start Friday in Omaha and started earlier in the week in some nearby communities. Omahans can’t legally discharge them inside the city limits until noon Tuesday.

Hours for fireworks in Omaha this year are noon to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Last year in Nebraska, according to a report from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office, eyes and hands were the body parts most often injured, and second-degree burns were the most common injury. People holding fireworks or being too close to where fireworks were being lit were the most common reasons for injuries, the Fire Marshal’s Office said.

Males are more likely to be injured than females, and people ages 11 through 29 are injured most often.

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Omaha Fire Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick offers these tips for safety:

  • Ignite fireworks away from houses, people and flammable objects.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, and store unused fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Never attempt to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks — keep water close by to extinguish them.
  • After all fireworks have been discharged and when cleaning up, keep discarded fireworks outside and away from any other combustibles. Firework debris still may be hot and have hidden embers that can ignite and cause a fire.

In Nebraska, only people 16 years old and older are allowed to discharge fireworks without supervision. Children at least 12 years of age can ignite fireworks with the supervision of an adult who is at least 19.

kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272

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