Staying safe on the 4th of July

Many people in the Heartland will be watching fireworks Thursday night, but the Wapello County Sheriffâ??s Office want to remind people about whatâ??s legal and whatâ??s illegal.

Possessing fireworks in the state of Iowa is legal, however, setting them off is illegal.

In the city of Ottumwa, itâ??s illegal to possess fireworks. It is legal to possess and use sparklers and snakes.

If you do get caught setting off fireworks, the fine can be quite hefty.

â??It can carry a penalty of a simple misdemeanor with a $350 fine so we just encourage people -- youâ??re taking a little bit of a chance if youâ??re using fireworks because if somebody reports that to us and that will prompt an investigation from our standpoint and you could be charged with a crime and have your fireworks confiscated,â?? said Wapello County Sheriff Mark Miller.

Sheriff Miller also wants to stress not mixing alcohol with driving. There will be extra law enforcement out on duty on this holiday weekend.

The Ottumwa Fire Department also wants to remind everyone to be careful during your 4th of July celebrations.

The only legal fireworks in the city of Ottumwa are only what you can buy here in the local stores such as sparklers, snakes and poppers.

If you allow your children to use those, you should keep close supervision.

â??Keep a bucket of water handy to put the hot wires in so they're not laying out on the grass and could get stepped on or lay there and smolder or start a small fire. Stay away from common combustibles, your grass, newspapers, gasolines, that type of thing. Stay away from your house. Don't let them light it off in the house obviously. Be in a well ventilated area. With the snakes, be cautious of where you light them off; light them off of concrete, a hard surface. Donâ??t light them off on any combustible because that would catch fire,â?? said Deputy Chief Cory Benge.

Deputy Chief Benge said the fire station stores the illegal fireworks that are confiscated and the state fire marshal then comes to gem them and dispose of them properly.