Fired up about the Fourth? Keep it safeThe fireworks for sale in Minnesota may be legal, but if not handled carefully they can be dangerous.
The fireworks for sale in Minnesota may be legal, but if not handled carefully they can be dangerous.
State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl calls the sparklers, snakes and other items that are legal in Minnesota “merely less dangerous than the outlawed fireworks that fly or explode.”
“The burning tip of a sparkler can reach 2,000 degrees,” says Rosendahl. “That’s not safe. It’s hot enough to melt gold, and precautions are necessary to use sparklers and all other fireworks.”
According to the Consumer Products Safety Division, nearly 10,000 Americans are treated for fireworks injuries each year. In Minnesota, the devices caused 69 injuries serious enough for emergency room treatment in 2008 – more than half of them to persons age 19 and younger.
Fireworks law specifies that you must be at least 18 to purchase consumer fireworks, and retailers are required to check ID. Fireworks may not be used on public property, including parks, roads, alleys, schools and any government property.
Minnesota-legal fireworks include sparklers, snakes, ground spinners and spark cones, any of which can cause injury. Young children are most vulnerable.
“Delayed combustion is not uncommon,” Rosendahl says. “People who try to relight a device often end up with damaged eyes or fingers.”
To avoid injuries, the state fire marshal recommends following these tips:
•Set a good example by using only legal fireworks in your celebration.
•Dress appropriately. Shoes are essential. Avoid hats and loose clothing.
•Light one item at a time, and never in an enclosed container.
•Never attempt to relight a device that doesn’t ignite properly the first time.
•Keep a bucket of water handy to cool spent sparkler wires and extinguish other fireworks.
•Avoid areas with dry grass, brush or debris; flying sparks can ignite these materials.
For more facts and tips, go to www.fire.state.mn.us and select “Fireworks Information.”