Extra care should be taken with fireworks this year

Nobody likes a lecture, so just a few reminders on the safe handling of fireworks as the July 4th holiday approaches.

As we all know, it has been very dry this spring, so dry that the City of Minot has asked people to curtail water usage outdoors on certain days. That should also be a tip to people who use fireworks that they might be putting their own and their neighbors’ property at risk if they set off fireworks around combustible materials.

Yes, it is illegal to set off fireworks in town – period – but it happens every year anyway. If you are going to break the law, or allow your children to, be mindful of the conditions.

As an example of how “harmless” fireworks pose serious danger when used improperly, consider these statistics from the National Fire Protection Association.

– In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires in the U.S., including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires.

More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.

– According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than one-third (35%) of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20-July 20, 2014 were under 15; nine percent were under five.

– CPSC data show that sparklers alone accounted for more than one one-quarter (28%) of the emergency room fireworks injuries seen from June 20-July 20, 2014.