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Tips for Avoiding Danger This Fourth of July

Boise's deputy fire chief suggests Idahoans watch experts light aerial fireworks rather than doing it themselves. (Edward Simpson/Flickr)
Boise's deputy fire chief suggests Idahoans watch experts light aerial fireworks rather than doing it themselves. (Edward Simpson/Flickr)
June 30, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – Fire-safety experts want Idahoans to have a blast this Fourth of July, but they also want residents to stay safe. Earlier this week, the Idaho Attorney General's Office clarified that aerial fireworks are illegal and should not be sold at retail stands.

Romeo Gervais, deputy chief fire marshal with the Boise Fire Department, says Idahoans should leave more dangerous fireworks to experts. Unfortunately, he's seen the consequences of fireworks gone wrong.

"Every year, people lose valuable property to them, whether it be crops or whether it be somebody's house, caused by these fireworks," he says. "So, while they're beautiful and it's as American as apple pie - right? You have to use them safely."

According to Gervais, safety comes down to choosing the right fireworks. In other words, stay away from the aerial fireworks the attorney general is warning against. He says it's also important to supervise children, even if they are holding something as mundane as a sparkler.

Disposal is another key to preventing fires. Gervais says Boise Fire responds to a few calls every year from someone who has thrown spent fireworks in a trash can.

"After you've let them cool down for a while, putting them in some water is always a great idea, never trying to relight the duds, and then dispose of the fireworks," he explains.

Gervais warns against sky lanterns as well. Banned in some parts of the state, sky lanterns - sometimes called Chinese lanterns - are like small paper balloons with candles that are released into the air. He says the problem is that they are uncontrollable, and pose a particular hazard in rural areas because they can start wildfires.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID