JEFFERSON CITY – State Fire Marshal Randy Cole wants people to remember that fireworks can be dangerous.
Public firework displays put on by trained professionals are the safest way to enjoy fireworks, he said.
“While fireworks are exciting to see, they are potentially dangerous and when misused can lead to serious injuries, fires, burns and even death,” Cole explained.“Misuse of fireworks is not only dangerous for the user, but also for the bystanders and surrounding structures. Even a sparkler — which is often thought of as safe for children — burns at a temperature that is hot enough to cause third degree burns.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 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.
The NFPA also reports that in 2008, fireworks caused an estimated 22,500 reported fires, including 1,400 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 20,600 outside and other fires. The fires resulted in an estimated $42 million in direct property damage.
Fireworks sales at licensed seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri from June 20 to July 10. This year, the Office of the State Fire Marshal licensed 1,199 seasonal retailers. 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.