Benton Co. Fire District #4 helps demonstrate the dangers of fir - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton Co. Fire District #4 helps demonstrate the dangers of fireworks

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - The Fourth of July is just a day away, and if you're going to be lighting off fireworks, be safe when you do...to prevent your celebration from turning into a disaster.

NBC Right Now teamed up with one local fire department to show you some of those dangers firsthand.

Fire departments all over the country are getting ready for what never fails to be a crazy night. So, along with Benton County Fire District #4 Captain Ed Dunbar, we want to demonstrate - with mannequins - some common mistakes people make with fireworks that can start a large fire, land you or a loved one in a burn unit, or worse.

When it comes to the fountain firework, there are a couple concerns in our demonstration; specifically when they tip over. All of a sudden, they aren't shooting up in the air.

"So it's still going off," said Capt. Dunbar. "So that's a problem with some of these things. And the reason it did that is it was not on a very good, solid surface."

Next, we tested a kid-favorite: sparklers. This is where supervision comes in. Capt. Dunbar says too many accidents happen when a child grabs the wrong end of a lit sparkler.

"At this point, if it got that close to her hand, she would probably scream and let go, which is kind of what the tape is simulating there," Capt. Dunbar explained as we tested on the child-sized mannequin. "So it's still going to continue to burn. So if they're out next to the fields or something, that could even start a fire just that quickly."

And finally, roman candles.

This simulation showed two scenarios: what happens if you shoot them at someone, and also if you shoot them at a wall or building.

"You can see how far those little balls are bouncing."

Capt. Dunbar says kids have been known to put sparklers in their pockets...not a good idea. He also reminded us that the Fourth of July is meant for celebrating...safely.

As a reminder: you can't shoot fireworks at city parks in West Richland. They want that to be clear; you can't come into West Richland from another city and set up shop with your fireworks in a city park.

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