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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 27, 2014
Don't Be a Dud: Use Fireworks Safely
State Fire Marshal Offers Tips, Explains What’s Legal to Use in Minnesota

​ST. PAUL, Minn. — Don’t think legal fireworks like sparklers can be dangerous? A Bayport, Minnesota, man who suffered severe burns to his hand while putting on a colorful show last weekend for his friends and family is a good reminder why fireworks need to be used with extreme caution. 

The 33-year-old — who allowed the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) to use these photos as a warning to others — was lighting sparklers when the pack caught fire. He submerged his hand in a bucket of water and headed to the hospital.

Aerial or exploding fireworks are illegal in Minnesota, but legal fireworks like sparklers — which can burn up to 1,200 degrees — can be just as dangerous and cause injury. 

“Have fun with your fireworks but be safe and only use the fireworks that are legal in Minnesota,” State Fire Marshal Bruce West said. “It takes only one incident to cause irreversible damage.”

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

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. 

Fireworks safety tips

  • Read instructions on each device.
  • Always provide adult supervision and keep fireworks away from small children.
  • Use fireworks far from animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush and other combustibles.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to cool spent sparkler wires and extinguish other fireworks.
  • 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.

Facts about fireworks

  • Minnesota Statute 624.20 allows for the public sale, possession and use of a limited number of, but not all, consumer fireworks.
  • Fireworks may not legally be used on public property, including parks, roads, alleys, schools and any government property.
  • Minnesota law states that you must be at least 18 years old to purchase consumer fireworks, and retailers are required to check ID.
  • Delayed combustion is not uncommon. People who try to relight a device often end up with damaged eyes or fingers.

More facts and figures are available from the National Fire Protection Association.

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

  • SFMD investigators worked on 395 investigations last year.
  • One structure fire was reported in Minnesota every 1.4 hours in 2013.
  • Last year, careless smoking and cooking were the most common causes of fatal fires.
  • There were 44 fire deaths in 2013, a 12 percent decrease from 50 deaths in 2012.
  • This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Fire in Minnesota report. Fifteen years of fire data is online.

 
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Editor’s notes:

  • A video about fireworks safety featuring State Fire Marshal Bruce West is available at online. 
  • A JPG version of the photo in this news release is attached.
  • The photo is this news release is not part of an active incident. The individual photographed provided these images for public safety purposes and asked his name not be made public.

 
 


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