The Fourth of July brings barbeques, gatherings and of course, fireworks. Area public safety officials want to ensure you enjoy all the excitement of fireworks with the knowledge to do so safely and legally.
“Be smart and thoughtful when you are celebrating the Fourth of July,” said Hudson Chief of Police Geoff Willems.
“Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations,” says Jake Littfin of the Red Wing Fire Department.
Here are a few things to know heading into the holiday weekend:
Legal fireworks under state laws
Wisconsin sets the minimum restriction for fireworks law in that state. There are a few fireworks that may be sold, possessed and used legally, including sparklers not exceeding 36 inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than 1/4 grain of explosive mixture and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground. There are no age restrictions on these items.
Minnesota has among the strictest fireworks laws in the Midwest. The sale, possession and use of certain non-explosive and non-aerial consumer fireworks is permitted. These include sparklers, cones and tubes that emit sparks, novelty items like snakes, and party poppers.
Illegal fireworks under state laws
Wisconsin’s illegal fireworks to purchase, possess or use unless a permit is obtained include firecrackers, roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars. A commonly used rule of thumb is that a permit is required if the device explodes or leaves the ground.
Minnesota prohibits anything that flies or explodes. Examples include firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles and roman candles.
Variations for Wisconsin municipalities
Different Wisconsin municipalities have variations of firework laws.
“Local ordinances may also regulate fireworks and may be stricter than state law, but cannot be less strict,” as outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
It’s important to understand the laws where you plan to celebrate.
In Minnesota, people injured by fireworks should file a report. They can find it at dps.mn.gov/divisions/sfm/programs-services/Documents/Fireworks/Fireworks-injury-report.pdf and file it via email to to Robert Rexeisen at email@example.com.
Firework safety tips
Littfin goes over general tips in a safety video posted on the Red Wing Fire Department’s YouTube channel.
The following safety tips were outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks and always have an adult present.
Young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Light fireworks one at a time.
After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.