COVID-19 News: State firefighters concerned about increased number of “do-it-yourself” fireworks shows this year
Last year in Minnesota, 59 people ended up in hospitals with fireworks injuries — 43 percent of them ages 19 and under. Children ages 9 and under accounted for 16 percent of fireworks injuries in 2019, many of which were caused by sparklers. Fire officials are also concerned about property damage. Fireworks caused $190,351 in damage to homes and other structures in Minnesota last June and July.
With the cancellation of many public fireworks shows this year, Minnesota firefighters are bracing for an uptick in fireworks injuries and property damage as people put on their own fireworks celebrations. The Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division is asking Minnesotans to find safe and creative alternatives for celebrating Independence Day to prevent injuries and help reduce the strain on first responders and emergency rooms.
Flying or exploding fireworks are illegal in Minnesota, but legal fireworks like sparklers — which can burn at up to 1,200 degrees — can be just as dangerous and cause injury. State law only permits fireworks to be used on private property — not streets, alleys, parks or school or government property.
If you do use fireworks or participate in a neighborhood show, remember:
- Use fireworks responsibly, especially around children. Kids mimic adult behavior.
- If it flies or explodes, it’s illegal in Minnesota.
- Fireworks can be disruptive to neighbors and frightening to pets.
- Use fireworks outdoors, far from property and crowds.
- Don’t let children or animals run through the area where fireworks are being set off. They could step on a spent firework that is still hot.
- Sparklers can cause serious burns. Consider glow sticks or light-up wands as an alternative.
- Use a long lighter meant for a gas grill to light fireworks.
- Do not try to re-light a dud. Ever.
- Soak used fireworks in water and leave them outside overnight before discarding into trash containers.
What’s legal in Minnesota and what isn’t?
Examples of legal fireworks
- Wire or wood sparklers
- Smoke devices
- Snappers and drop-caps
Examples of illegal fireworks
- Sky rockets
- Bottle rockets
- Roman candles
Q: Are there age restrictions on fireworks purchase and use?
A: To purchase fireworks in Minnesota, customers must be at least 18 years old.
Q: Where can I use fireworks?
A: State law says that fireworks may only be used on private property. It is illegal to use fireworks on public property, including streets, parks, alleys, schools and government property.
Q: What are the penalties for illegal fireworks possession?
A: In Minnesota, possession of less than 35 pounds of illegal fireworks is subject to a fine of up to $700 and 90 days in jail. Possession of over 35 pounds is subject to a fine of up to $3,000 and a year in jail.