From left, Keith, Deb and Chuck Decker stand in the aerial display aisle of Decker’s Uncle Sam Fireworks in Howard on June 25. Ben Rodgers Photo
By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – Fireworks are family at Decker’s Uncle Sam Fireworks, and the Deckers want to make sure everybody’s family is safe this Fourth of July.
The family-owned business in its 42 year of operation urges safety when celebrating America’s independence.
Part of that is safety glasses the store sells at cost, and gives away with an online coupon.
“We don’t make money on them, but if you’ll use them I’ll give them to you,” said Deb Decker, co-owner.
Sparklers remain as popular as ever, and the Deckers want to see children stay safe when using them.
Deb recommends no open-toed shoes on children when they are using them and make sure the child knows what they are doing.
Other tips are to use common sense when shooting off fireworks.
Don’t look over anything that has failed to fire and keep water nearby to put spent fireworks in.
“After the fireworks are lit off we have had it happen where they flare up and catch fire, so keep them out of the house and out of the bonfire,” said Chuck Decker, co-owner.
Chuck knows fireworks safety. He sits on the safety committees of a handful of fireworks groups the Deckers are involved with.
As a director at-large on the Wisconsin Pyrotechnic Arts Guild, Chuck has helped the group earn recognition from the Pyrotechnics Guild International.
He said the biggest thing is to not tamper with any fireworks, and to use them as they are intended.
“If you’re lighting fuses, sparks are going to fly,” he said.
For those at-home fireworks enthusiasts who like to put on a show on The Fourth, Uncle Sam Fireworks has fuses and Chuck will help people learn how to set up their home display so they only have to light one fuse.
Fireworks injuries have also been on the decline – despite rising popularity, due to increased safety standards, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.
In 2017 there were 254.4 million pounds of fireworks consumed in the U.S. with 12,800 injuries, or five injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks consumed.
“The quality of the fireworks just keeps improving,” Chuck said.
To also make sure people don’t get in trouble for fireworks, the Deckers encourage everyone to check with their town or village hall to get any proper permits required for in-air booms and bangs.
“We don’t want people to get in trouble and end up with a fine,” Deb said. “We don’t want you to tick your neighbors off, either. We want you to invite your neighbors over.”
Chuck and Deb’s son Keith has been working with fireworks for his entire life. He has a simple rule of thumb when questioning what requires a permit.
“If it goes up or blows up, it requires a permit,” Keith said.
Decker’s Uncle Sam Fireworks has seen four decades of trends and for the past few years it’s been aerial displays that have been the most popular.
“With the ariel displays, most people call them multi-shots or cakes, but they are a bunch of small mortars,” he said.
The store also has a new Star Wars inspired Night Saber, which is a giant sparkler.
Decker’s Uncle Same Fireworks also carries a variety of sparklers, fountains, bottle rockets and fiecrackers.
For more information about specials, safety videos and a coupon for buy-one-get-one safety glasses, visit unclesamfireworks.com.