June 27, 2016

Public fireworks displays are a fun and safe way to enjoy July 4th fireworks

Missourians who use consumer fireworks should comply with local ordinances and take safety precautions, particularly around children

As Americans prepare to celebrate the nation’s 240th birthday, the Division of Fire Safety is reminding Missourians that professional fireworks shows offer the most exciting and entertaining sights – and are the safest way to enjoy fireworks. Across the nation, July 4th is the biggest day of the year for fireworks, and for the most injuries and fires caused by fireworks.

“Independence Day weekend is a great time to gather with family and friends and celebrate,” Acting State Fire Marshal Greg Carrell said. “For those who consider fireworks a key part of the celebration, especially families with children, I recommend taking in one of the many free shows conducted by professionals around the state of Missouri. People who are considering using consumer fireworks should weigh the potential risks – injuries and the potential to start a fire – and put safety first.

A 2014 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study of fireworks injuries during the month around July 4 (June 20 - July 20) revealed the following statistics about fireworks injuries across the nation:

Nationally, an average of 230 people went to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

About 35 percent of fireworks injuries were to children 14 years old and younger.

Smaller fireworks led to the most injuries of any categories of fireworks: firecrackers, 20 percent; sparklers, 19 percent.  

Injuries were most common to hands and fingers (36 percent); eyes (19 percent); head, face and ears (19 percent).

Males accounted for almost three times as many of the injured (74 percent) as females (26 percent).

Fireworks sales at licensed seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri from June 20 to July 10. Through June 21, the Division of Fire Safety had licensed more than 1,200 seasonal retailers. State permits should be displayed at all seasonal retail locations. Missourians who choose to use consumer fireworks should learn about and comply with any local ordinances related to fireworks, and should follow basic safety practices:

Always keep young children away from fireworks. If teens are permitted to handle fireworks they should be closely supervised by an adult.

Only light one firework at a time; never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.

Make sure to have a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of a fire.

Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.

Only use fireworks in a large open space that has been cleared of flammable materials. Never light fireworks indoors. Never shoot them off in a glass container.

Don't use fireworks while consuming alcohol. 

Always wear eye protection; use earplugs if you have sensitive ears.

Never have any part of your body over fireworks.

Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don't save fireworks from season to season.

Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer.

Make sure fireworks are legal in your locality before buying them.

Anyone with concerns about a fireworks dealer or the types of fireworks being sold by a dealer should call the Division of Fire Safety at (573) 751-2930.