Editorial: Take care with fireworks as you celebrate

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

With the Fourth of July nearing, residents will soon see and hear the sights and sounds of the celebration: fireworks.

Since Minnesota law changed in 2002, legalizing for the first time consumer fireworks such as fountains, torches, spinners and sparklers, injuries have risen dramatically.

Most injuries, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, result from unsafe use of legal fireworks. Backyard decks are made of wood, garages are full

Email newsletter signup

of combustibles and children run barefoot during celebrations. The burning tip of a sparkler is 1,200 degrees. That isn’t something that people should just hand over to a youngster and hope for the best. Use fireworks only under close adult supervision.

When it comes to safety around fireworks, people need to take responsiblity. That also means knowing which fireworks are illegal.

The general rule of thumb is that anything that doesn’t explode or become aerial is legal. Sparklers, spark cones and ground spinners are legal, while bottle rockets and firecrackers are illegal.

To purchase fireworks in Minnesota all customers need to provide photo identification to prove they are over the age of 18. And fireworks can only be used on private property.

Possession of less than 35 pounds of illegal fireworks is subject to a fine of up to $700 and 90 days in jail.

So if you’re going to use fireworks, make sure they’re legal and that you’re using them safely. Fireworks gone wrong can mean scars for life &045; or worse.