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Firework Safety for the Best Independence Day Celebration

Photo of people watching fireworks

While launching fireworks is against the law in St. Louis County, many enjoy out-of-town celebrations that include this patriotic and thrilling part of the revelry. Unfortunately, fireworks injure thousands of people each year. In 2022, more than 10K individuals were treated for firework-related injuries in the ER.

Black Jack Fire Protection District wants residents in the community to stay safe when they celebrate this Fourth of July. Learn more about the proper way to ignite fireworks, how to clean up fireworks debris, and discover Missouri fireworks laws.

Table of Contents:

Where Can I Light Fireworks?

Lighting Fireworks: Safety Tips to Avoid Injury

  • How to Light Fireworks

Are You Required to Clean Up Fireworks?

Missouri Fireworks Laws

Where Can I Light Fireworks?

Launching fireworks in residential areas is illegal throughout St. Louis County. Residents in Black Jack and surrounding communities must abide by all ordinances and laws. However, many rural areas in Missouri do not have the same guidelines as St. Louis County.

In areas where the sale of fireworks and the discharge of fireworks are permitted, residents may host their own fireworks extravaganza when the sun goes down. When celebrating with fireworks, it’s crucial to keep safety in mind. 

Lighting Fireworks: Safety Tips to Avoid Injury

Photo of kids watching fireworks

Fourth of July celebrations are never complete without an evening fireworks display. For homeowners who host DIY displays and purchase an array of fireworks, the stunning fireworks finale could be the most anticipated part of the event. 

Unfortunately, these displays can lead to serious injuries and even death when individuals fail to follow proper safety precautions. Lighting fireworks incorrectly can cause burns or engulf a home in flames.

How to Light Fireworks

Some types of fireworks are more likely to lead to injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), firecrackers caused the most injuries (1,300). However, the second most dangerous type of fireworks is also among the most popular with children–sparklers.

Many children love the glow of sparklers, as these fireworks are designed as long sticks; the lit tip creates the appearance of a flame that resembles a flickering, burning star. Sparklers look a bit like magic wands, and children love swirling the sticks to watch the sparks fly.  In 2022, sparklers led to 600 injuries. 

Children should never play with fireworks, including sparklers. Parents must remember that all fireworks are dangerous and pose a burning hazard to small children. Even adults are susceptible to injury when they handle and ignite fireworks incorrectly. 

Before lighting fireworks, keep these safety tips in mind: 

Photo of a person recording fireworks

  • Never touch fireworks that are “active.”

  • Do not light multiple fireworks. Light one, then move away. 

  • Never re-light fireworks

  • Keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency

  • Aim fireworks away from people

  • Keep pets indoors when shooting fireworks

Celebrate Sober: Fireworks and Substances Do Not Mix

Fire alcohol and drugs do not mix. Black Jack Fire Protection encourages residents to celebrate sober when they are launching fireworks. 

Drugs and alcohol decrease inhibition and impact reaction time. Being high or intoxicated impairs an individual’s ability to make safe decisions and react appropriately (and effectively) during an emergency. If you plan on celebrating the Fourth of July with alcohol, designate a sober friend or family member to launch the fireworks.

Are You Required to Clean Up Fireworks?

When launching fireworks at a private residence, it’s imperative to clean up the debris. Not only does this mess make the landscape look chaotic, but it also threatens wildlife and the environment. 

Many fireworks include pieces of plastic and other small parts that could be hazardous to birds, pets, and local wildlife. In addition, many of these materials do not decompose.  The day after a fireworks celebration, go through the area and remove any debris. Never clean up fireworks debris when it is still hot. 

Understand Missouri Fireworks Laws

Fireworks laws vary across the state. In St. Louis County, it is illegal to shoot fireworks. Before celebrating any festivity with fireworks, always research the municipality and county laws. 

Black Jack Fire Protection District reminds residents to follow proper safety protocols when shooting fireworks. Never let children play with fireworks (including sparklers), never mix fireworks with drugs or alcohol, and never touch active fireworks. Celebrate safely, and don’t become an Independence Day ER statistic. 

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