FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2020


State Fire Marshal urges caution for those who use consumer fireworks this July 4th, as some public fireworks displays are canceled

Sales at seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri from June 20 to July 10

As with much of American life, COVID-19 is altering July 4th festivities and the public fireworks displays that are central to them. Some Missouri communities are going ahead with displays and urging social distancing and mask-wearing, while others are canceling displays this year.  

“Each year, we remind people that the best sights and safest experiences are at public fireworks displays because of the dangers posed by using consumer fireworks,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “This year, we are concerned if more people choose to turn to consumer fireworks, it could lead to additional injuries and fires. We urge everyone to be extremely cautious, and to review safety guidelines for using consumer fireworks.” 

Across the nation, July 4th is not only the busiest day of the year for fireworks, it’s the busiest day of the year for fires. About 40 percent of Independence Day structure fires are the result of fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires a year. About 250 people go to emergency rooms each day with fireworks-related injuries in the 30 days around July 4th.

Missourians who choose to use consumer fireworks should follow these safety tips:

  • Confirm fireworks are legal where you live; purchase fireworks only from licensed retailers.
  • Only use fireworks in a large open space that has been cleared of flammable materials.
  • Always keep young children away from fireworks; if teens are permitted to handle fireworks, they should be closely supervised by an adult; always wear eye protection.
  • Make sure to have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.
  • Only light fireworks one at a time; never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned
  • Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
  • Never shoot fireworks off from a glass jar or container.
  • Never use fireworks while consuming alcohol.
  • Never store fireworks from season to season.

Sparklers are a good example of how people underestimate the danger of fireworks. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. They can quickly ignite clothing and leave young children with severe burns. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries.

Bean said that in addition to normal safety concerns, people using loose-fitting cloth face coverings to protect against COVID-19 should remember these coverings pose a hazard when using open-flame devices to light fireworks or when using sparklers. Many of these coverings can easily ignite and cause serious facial burns to the victim.

Fireworks sales at licensed seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri from June 20 to July 10. Through June 19, the Division of Fire Safety has issued 1,099 permits to seasonal retailers. DFS conducts safety inspections at fireworks retailers, including checking to make sure they sell only legally-permitted consumer fireworks, that they have at least two exits, are equipped with fire extinguishers, and that fireworks tents have been treated with fire retardant chemicals.

For questions or concerns about firework safety, firework rules, or firework dealers can contact the Division of Fire Safety at (573) 751-2930. More fireworks safety tips are available at https://dfs.dps.mo.gov/safetytips/fireworks-safety.php.

 



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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov