While fireworks are exciting to see, they are very dangerous when misused—not only for the operator, but also for bystanders and nearby structures. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is by attending public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals. It is illegal to use fireworks in many jurisdictions in Missouri; some permit fireworks to be used on a few days a year, usually around the July 4th holiday. Be sure to confirm that fireworks are legal where you live before making a purchase.
In 2020 in Missouri, there were 485 emergency room visits related to fireworks. Of those 485 visits, 35 people were admitted to the hospital and 450 people were treated and released.
More than 88 percent of those fireworks injuries occurred in the two-week period leading up to and following Independence Day (June 27 to July 11, 2020). During that period, 430 people with fireworks injuries sought treatment in emergency rooms or were admitted for inpatient care.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, far more fires are reported in the U.S. on a typical Independence Day than on any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires.
NFPA also reports that in 2018, fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 reported fires, including 1,900 total structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths and $105 million in direct property damage.
Fireworks sales at licensed seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri from June 20 to July 10. State permits should be displayed at all seasonal retail locations. Missourians who choose to use consumer fireworks should follow basic safety practices:
- Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer.
- Always wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
- Tie back long hair and don't wear loose fitting clothes.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.
- Never have any part of your body over fireworks.
- Keep young children away from fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Make sure to have water nearby in case of a fire or an accident.
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Don't use fireworks while consuming alcohol. Use a "designated shooter."
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don't save fireworks from season to season.
Anyone with concerns about a fireworks dealer or the types of fireworks being sold by a dealer should call the State Fire Marshal's office at (573) 751-2930.
Permits for display fireworks may be granted to municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks, organizations, persons, firms or corporations. For more information on firework permits, visit fireworks displays.