Along with backyard cookouts and parties, the brilliance of a fireworks display is an integral part of any celebration of our country’s independence. With Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s a good time to be reminded of the seriousness of this holiday as well. More than 8,800 people nationwide are badly injured, requiring emergency services every year, as a result of improperly handled fireworks displays at home.

So how do you protect yourself and prevent injury to your family and friends this 4th of July? Follow the guidelines released by the Minneapolis Fire Department to ensure the safety of those around you when enjoying an at-home fireworks display.

Play it Safe

• Read, understand and follow the instructions on each device prior to using.
• Use fireworks with close adult supervision.
• Choose a safe place to use fireworks. Fireworks should only be ignited outdoors and away from animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush or combustible materials.
• Anyone acting in an irresponsible manner or who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs should not handle or discharge fireworks.
• Keep fireworks away from small children and store them in a cool dry location away from sources of ignition (heat and flames). Fireworks should not be allowed to become wet and should not be used when dried after becoming wet.
• Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or on your person.
• Lit cigarettes, cigars, pipes or open flames should be kept away from fireworks
• Never ignite fireworks inside another container, such as inside a bottle or can.
• Eye protection is recommended for those using fireworks. Never throw fireworks or aim them at another person, animal or building.
• Only light one firework device at a time, then move away from the device quickly. Keep clear of any device that has been ignited, but has yet to go off.
• If a firework device has been ignited but fails to go off, stay clear of the device for an extended period of time to prevent injury due to delayed activation. Soak the device in water before handling it.
• Never place any part of your body, especially your head, over the firework device when lighting. Approach the item from the side and light it while keeping your body away from the item.
• Never relight malfunctioning fireworks. Report any defects back to the seller or the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
• Never experiment with fireworks, make your own fireworks, or alter fireworks in any manner (a strong federal prohibition exists for such activity).
Remember to adhere to what is legal and what’s not when setting off fireworks in Minneapolis.
• Non-explosive fireworks are legal in Minneapolis. Examples include sparklers, cones, tubes that spark, snakes, and party poppers.
• It is legal to use these types of fireworks in your yard or on your sidewalk.
• Fireworks that explode or take off are illegal in Minneapolis. Examples include firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, roman candles, mortars and shells.
• It is illegal to use any fireworks on public property including roads, alleys, schools, and parks.
• To report illegal fireworks, call 911. Callers should provide the exact address and a description of the person or people setting off the fireworks.

Please note that 911 and law enforcement can be very busy on summer evenings, especially July 4, and it may take longer to respond to fireworks calls.
If you’re looking to play it really safe, take your family to a professional fireworks display this holiday season. Then just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
If you or a family member has been injured as a result of improperly handled fireworks, contact Meshbesher & Spence immediately. Our experienced attorneys and expert staff know how to build a case to make sure that you and your family receive fair compensation in the most difficult of circumstances.