The Owatonna Police Department receives a spike in complaints about fireworks every July, and in particular around July 4. Many involve fireworks that are illegal in Minnesota, OPD Patrol Capt. Jeffrey Mundale said.
“The law and rule of thumb: Anything that flies or explodes is illegal in Minnesota. Explosive and aerial fireworks are prohibited for public sale, possession and use,” he said.
Even legal fireworks such as sparklers and party poppers can only be purchased by adults, Mundale said, and cannot be used on public property including parks, roads and school property.
Owatonna Fire Chief Mike Johnson said the law alone doesn’t prevent problems.
“Unfortunately, many people are still out there using the fireworks and lighting them illegally,” he said. “That can cause other people to be hurt, plus it’s a nuisance. Lot of people don’t want to hear the noise, lot of animals are afraid of the noise the fireworks make.” Read more...
Each July Fourth, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.
Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.
The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by NFPA, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.
Fireworks by the numbers
- In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
- In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2014 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head.
- The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 0-4, followed by children 10-14.
- On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.