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DIY is great, but not for fireworks displays

July 2, 2020

Sidewalk chalk art of fireworks

With so many things shut down because of the pandemic, it may feel like there hasn’t been much to look forward to attending. Fortunately, the Fourth of July is coming up, and a fireworks display may sound like just the ticket. But with many cities calling off their displays this year – thanks again, COVID-19 – you may be tempted to put on your own fireworks show. What could it hurt?

Allow us to answer that question: you, your kids, your pets, your neighbors, your property, others’ property…you get the idea. Anything that flies or explodes is illegal in Minnesota. Think firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, Roman candles, and mortars and shells. But even legal fireworks, such as snakes, party poppers, and cones or tubes that emit sparks, can cause serious damage and injury if not used properly. Take sparklers, for example. They burn at temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees. Do you really want your kid holding something that hot in their hand?

The body parts most commonly injured by fireworks are the face and hands, and 59 people were hospitalized with fireworks injuries in 2019 alone. Those are just the injuries we know about. It’s likely that dozens more people are injured each year but treat themselves at home. Is it worth it to take the chance that you or a loved one could be one of those statistics this year? And while we’re talking statistics, consider that in June and July of last year, fireworks are blamed for more than $190,000 worth of damage to homes and other property.

Remember that fireworks – even legal ones – can’t be used on public property, such as parks, roads, alleys, schools and government property. Which means that if you want to set off some legal fireworks, you have to do it on private property.

Between the potential for bodily injury and the fire danger, setting off your own fireworks display just isn’t a good idea. So what do you do instead to celebrate our nation’s birthday? We have some ideas:

  • There will still be some fireworks displays this year, and some of them will be broadcast. Host a viewing party in your backyard.
  • Get lots of glow sticks to light up the night.
  • Hand out red, white and blue silly string and have a ball.
  • Make your own fireworks display—in chalk! Decorate your sidewalk or driveway. You can see some examples on the State Fire Marshal Division’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Don’t forget to share your images using the hashtag #ChalkOneUpForSafety.

If you really must have fireworks, use only those that are legal in Minnesota. Be sure to follow these safety guidelines so that your holiday doesn’t end with a trip to the ER or a visit from the fire department. Have a safe, happy and fun Fourth of July!