Pin It

Exploding Safely 

by TAMMY MARSHALL & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he day after Independence Day, stories usually file in on the Internet listing all the stupid things people did to themselves while playing with fireworks. Burns, eye injuries and, of course, fires tend to follow the nation's annual celebration of freedom. Blowing up stuff -- and occasionally, blowing up ourselves -- has been our preferred method for celebrating our independence for more than 230 years. Americans have basically set aside one day out of the year for people to consume alcohol and then play with explosives. It may be a recipe for disaster -- but hey, it's the American way.

In 1778, in fact, George Washington marked the nation's independence by granting his soldiers a double ration of rum; then he ordered them to fire up the cannons in an artillery salute. Two hundred years ago, a Minuteman was more worried about a blunderbuss exploding in his hands than he was about drunken revelers with firecrackers.

Two centuries later, however, we have refined the fine art of combining patriotism and self-injury. In 2007, more than 9,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. Half of them were teenagers or younger. Hundreds spent the night in the hospital. Eleven of them died.

Faces are burned; hands are blown off; shrapnel from fireworks flies into the air, then slices into children's eyeballs. Houses burn down; so do entire forests.

Yes, in the area of pyrotechnical displays, we've made great progress. And it's not just the great big, booming Roman candles that cause the most havoc: The most dangerous type of firework is the lowly sparkler. It sizzles brightly, and then it sizzles you. One out of every nine fireworks-related injuries is caused by that pretty, swirling thingie that you just lit up and handed to your toddler.

Airway Heights Fire Department Fire Chief John Schoen says that fireworks need to carry the label "Safe and Sane" -- and that even those (which definitely do not include bottle rockets or the notorious M-80) can cause injury. Schoen cites a regulatory and jurisdictional battle, too: "The best bet is to only buy fireworks off the reservations. Fireworks bought on the reservation need to be set off on that reservation," he says.

Maybe you should rethink that blow-'em-up extravaganza that you were planning, and maybe our Independence Day celebrations aren't as free as they were back in 1777. But with nearly every little town providing its own civic-minded display of fireworks (see sidebar), maybe all you should do is sit back and enjoy a brewskie. Let somebody else play with the explosives.

Local Firework displays:

& lt;li & COLVILLE FOURTH An Independence Day celebration will begin at dark. Free. Northeast Washington Fairgrounds, 411 W. Astor St., Colville, Wash. (509-684-5973) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & FIREWORKS AND WHEAT An Independence Day celebration will be from 5-11 pm. Free. Sunnyside Park, Pullman, Wash. (509-334-3565) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & FIRST FRIDAY IN WALLACE Live music, entertainment and a costume contest will be a part of this event beginning at 5 pm. Free. Sixth Street Melodrama, 212 Sixth St., Wallace, Idaho (208-752-8871) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & FOURTH AT THE CASINO A fireworks show will begin at dark. Free. Coeur d'Alene Casino, 27068 Hwy. 95, Worley, Idaho (800-523-2464) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & FOURTH IN IDAHO Sit by the lake and watch the fireworks at dusk; 10 am-11 pm. Free. Coeur d'Alene Lake, Sherman Ave. at First St., Coeur d'Alene (208-415-0105) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & INDEPENDENCE DOWNTOWN A day of activities finishing with fireworks: 10 am-11 pm. Free. Riverfront Park, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., (742-9373) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & INDEPENDENCE IN SILVER VALLEY A pancake breakfast, a parade, games and a concert will be from 8 am-10:30 pm. Free. Teeters Field, Kellogg, Idaho (208-512-2173) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & MOSES INDEPENDENCE DAY Bloodline will perform contemporary hits and fireworks will shoot across the sky at dusk. Free. McKosh Park, Moses Lake, Wash. (509-766-6240) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & SLIM INDEPENDENCE Too Slim and the Taildraggers will perform before the fireworks at 7 pm. Corner of Vista Dr. and Molter Rd., Liberty Lake, Wash. (755-6726) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & DEER PARK INDEPENDENCE A fireworks celebration will begin at dusk. Free. 316 E. Crawford Rd., Deer Park, Wash. (276-8801) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & KALISPEL INDEPENDENCE The Kalispel Tribe of Indians will have a fireworks show -- yes, beginning at dusk in Usk. (Washington, that is.) (242-7000) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & LIGHT 'EM UP IN AIRWAY HEIGHTS Make your own fireworks show beginning at dusk. Airway Heights, Wash. (244-5578) & lt;/li &

& lt;li & PARADE AND FIREWORKS SHOW Music and a parade at 10 am; fireworks at dusk. Free. City Beach, Sandpoint, Idaho (208-263-0887) & lt;/li &

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Skunked
  • Skunked

    Why Spokane County Commissioners passed a temporary ban on new outdoor pot farms without telling anyone
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Prisoner Problems
  • Prisoner Problems

    Computer errors continue to plague state Department of Corrections; plus, Washington ranked first in pro-charter-school policies
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment


green zone


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Grazed and Confused
  • Grazed and Confused

    Washington regulators won a case confirming their authority over ranchers, but advocates say the state has been cowed
    • Dec 23, 2015
  • Derailed
  • Derailed

    After years of train hopping, Chuck Lawrence wants to go home. It won't be that simple
    • May 13, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation