Fire marshal says public displays are safest way to enjoy fireworks

As Missouri families celebrate the July 4th holiday, State Fire Marshal Randy Cole is reminding them that public displays put on by trained professionals is the safest way to enjoy fireworks.

“Each year across the U.S., consumer fireworks cause property damage, injuries and even death,” Cole said. “Public firework displays are a fun, safe way for Missouri families to enjoy the excitement of fireworks without risking fires or injuries.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more fires are reported in the U.S. on a typical July 4 than any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of the fires.

According to the NFPA, in 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 fires, including 1,100 structure, 300 vehicle and 14,100 outdoor fires, resulting in eight deaths, 60 injuries and $36 million in property damage.

Fireworks sales at seasonal retailers are legal in Missouri between June 20 and July 10. This year, the Fire Marshal has issued more than 1,100 seasonal retailer licenses. State permits should be displayed at all seasonal retail locations. Missourians who choose to use fireworks should obey these basic safety practices:

• Purchase fireworks only from a licensed retailer.

• Wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.

• Tie back long hair and do not wear loose fitting clothes.

• Light only one firework at a time.

• Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.

• Never have any part of your body over fireworks.

• Keep young children away from fireworks.

• Never throw or point fireworks at other people.

• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

• Make sure to have water nearby in case of a fire or an accident.

• Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.

• Never light fireworks indoors.

• Don't use fireworks while consuming alcohol. Use a "designated shooter.”

• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don't save fireworks from season to season.

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