According to the National Fire Protection Association , more than twice the average number of fires are reported on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year. Fireworks are at fault for two out of every five of those holiday fires.

Fireworks are legal in Minnesota, but the law is specific about what types are allowed and what are not. The State Fire Marshal’s office website says, “Examples of legal fireworks include items such as sparklers, cones and tubes that emit sparks, and novelty items like snakes, and party poppers …

Consumer fireworks may not be used on public property (i.e. parks, roads, alleys, schools, government property, etc.). Purchasers of consumer fireworks must be at least 18 years old and retailers are required to check photo identification of purchasers before selling these products.

Explosive and aerial fireworks are prohibited for public sale, possession and use.  Prohibited fireworks include firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, roman candles, mortars and shells.”

Many homeowners are not aware that if fireworks are illegal in the area where they live and they still choose to celebrate with fireworks, any resulting fire damage may not be covered by their homeowner’s insurance.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public event directed by trained professionals. However, if you decide to provide your own entertainment this 4th of July, following these tips can help prevent fire damage and injury:
  • Buy fireworks only from a licensed store or stand.
  • Read and follow all the directions on the packaging.
  • Closely supervise children. Sparklers are generally considered child- friendly, but they can burn up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns. Discuss firework safety with children, emphasizing that fireworks should never be used carelessly, without an adult or indoors.
  • Keep water and fire extinguishers close at hand.
  • Clear the area you are using of flammable materials. Remove dry leaves or grass, trash, and be sure your gutters are free of leaves, seeds, or other flammable debris. Even small fireworks like sparklers or cherry bombs should never be used indoors, particularly garages where flammable materials are frequently stored.
  • Never point fireworks at others. Consider the amount of space and number of participants in the vicinity before you begin the celebration.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Although celebrating and alcoholic beverages tend to go hand-in-hand, reserve them for after the display to help keep people and property safe.
  • If a firework does not go off, never try to relight it. Instead, submerge it in water.
After the celebration, soak used fireworks in water before disposing of them in an outdoor garbage can. This will ensure that they are completely extinguished and prevent an unintentional fire.

However you celebrate, make safety a priority. The easiest way might be to attend a city fireworks show. The Rochester fireworks display at Silver Lake Park is a family favorite. Maybe we’ll see you there!
Staff Writer
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