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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Jen Longaecker  651-201-7570
jennifer.longaecker@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2015
Spend July 4 With Family And Friends, Not In The Hospital
As Holiday Approaches, State Fire Marshal Offers Tips, Explains What's Legal in Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Fireworks are exciting, but not if they involve a trip to emergency room. Last year in Minnesota there were 71 reported fireworks injuries — 15 of them to children 9 and under. 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) reminds adults as Independence Day approaches that their best bet is to enjoy a public fireworks display. Even legal fireworks like sparklers — which can burn up to 1,200 degrees — can be dangerous and cause injury. 

If you do purchase your own fireworks, remember:
  • If it flies or explodes, it’s illegal in Minnesota. You could face fines and confiscation of illegal fireworks.
  • Use fireworks in an open area away from houses and other structures.
  • Don’t let children run through the area. They could step on a spent firework that is still hot.
  • Use fireworks responsibly, especially around children. Kids mimic your behavior.
  • Use a long lighter meant for a gas grill to light fireworks and stay as far from the wick as possible.
  • Do not try to re-light a dud. Ever.
  • Have a bucket of water nearby; spent sparklers must go into the bucket, not dropped in the grass.
“We want everyone to have fun but safety needs to come first,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said. “It takes only one incident to cause irreversible damage.”

West explains more about fireworks safety in this video.

The SFMD has a complete online list of legal and illegal fireworks in Minnesota. Statistics on Minnesota fireworks injuries and property damage amounts are also available online.
 
Examples of legal fireworks
  • Wire or wood sparklers
  • Snakes and glow worms
  • Smoke devices
  • Snappers and drop caps
Examples of illegal fireworks
  • Any size firecrackers
  • Sky rockets
  • Bottle rockets
  • Roman candles                             
Fireworks FAQs
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.

More fireworks safety tips
  • Read instructions on each device.
  • Always provide adult supervision and keep fireworks away from small children.
  • Forbid anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs to use fireworks.
  • Light one at a time and don’t attempt to relight a device that doesn’t ignite the first time.
  • If it looks damaged, don’t use it.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety comprises 11 divisions where employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About the State Fire Marshal Division
The mission of the State Fire Marshal Division is to protect lives and property by fostering a fire-safe environment through fire/arson investigation, code development and enforcement, regulation, data collection and public education. Data collected by the State Fire Marshal Division from fire departments statewide is analyzed and used to determine the best methods of public education and enforcement to improve fire safety in our state.

State Fire Marshal Division statistics
  • One fire was reported in Minnesota every 46 minutes in 2014.
  • Last year, careless smoking was the most common causes of fatal fires.
  • There were 41 fire deaths in 2014, a 7 percent decrease from 44 deaths in 2013. 

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445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov