As Independence Day is approaching, first responders are reminding people to be aware of the safety aspects of fireworks, along with the rules and regulations. Concerns arise from the number of injuries and risks associated with lighting fireworks, which first responders say can have fatal consequences.
Great Falls Police Officer Michael Nelson said, "They are dangerous. Make sure that you are supervising your children, and that you are doing it in a safe spot, on private property in a safe location, away from houses, people, and flammable material. Just be smart about it."
Primary rules and regulations include:
- The selling and discharging of fireworks within the incorporated limits of Great Falls can only take place on July 2, 3, and 4 from 8:00 a.m. to midnight.
- Children 9 and younger partaking in the firework festivities must have a supervising adult within 10 feet, in order to control the application of flame or other means to discharge the firework.
- Residents should only discharge fireworks on private property (sidewalk leading to your residence and or driveway) and should always clean up any trash that is left behind from the discharging of fireworks.
Great Falls Emergency Services manager Justin Grohs noted, "Leave the big fireworks to the professionals. The city puts on phenomenal fireworks display with some big artillery shells and some cool sites. We like to see some individuals shy away from those bigger fireworks because they are more dangerous."
Great Falls Fire Rescue urges those setting off fireworks to take these necessary steps to keep yourself and others safe.
- Read Directions – Read the cautionary labels and directions before discharging.
- Discharge Outdoors – Always use fireworks outside in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
- Keep Fireworks away from Others - Never point or throw fireworks at another person or place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse.
- One at a Time - Light fireworks one at a time, then move back to a safe distance quickly.
- Have Water Handy! – Have a bucket of water or a water hose nearby to prevent a possible fire. Always remember to douse discharged fireworks with water once they have completely burned before throwing the fireworks away to prevent a trash fire.
- Adult Supervision - A responsible adult should always closely supervise all fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Clean it Up - Always clean up used fireworks when finished (make sure they are doused with water!).
- Prevent Injury – Fireworks should never be carried in a pocket or be shot off in metal or glass containers. Fireworks should be used on a solid, flat level surface. Never use altered fireworks. Not only are they dangerous, they can also be illegal.
- Sparklers - Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers.
- It Didn’t Light - If a firework does not work, leave it alone. Do not try to relight it. Pour water on it.
- Buying Fireworks – Purchase fireworks only from reliable outlets. Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper or packaging. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
Great Falls Fire Rescue Fire Marshal Tim Harris said, "Have fun. They're legal to light off July 2nd to July 4th, and be aware of your neighbors, and that not all people celebrate the Fourth of of July in the same fashion."
Coming up: Independence Day celebrations
- Great Falls nurse struck by lightning
- Montana State Fair: concert acts
- Obituary: Fredrick "Fritz" Seitz
- Summer Celebration in Fort Benton
- Taphouse opens in Craig
- Wolf Point man sentenced for murder