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As families prepare to celebrate July 4th, the Missouri Department of Safety reminds people that public firework displays put on by trained professionals are the safest option to enjoy the holiday. State Fire Marshal Randy Cole stresses that point because of this year’s dry summer weather. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark files this report.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), last month was one of the driest Mays on record for Missouri. The dry weather has caused an elevated fire risk for our area.
“The ground is so dry. It doesn’t take much to ignite a fire, and especially once a fire does start, it’s going to spread rapidly. We want to make sure children are supervised by adults. We want to avoid the experimentation of fireworks, the dismantling of fireworks, and doing something outside the design of those fireworks.”
Cole says to never throw or point fireworks at other people, and to dispose of fireworks in water if they fail to ignite. Also, never light fireworks indoors.
“A lot of common sense, but I think the important thing this year is due to the dry conditions, we just want to make sure we avoid any potential natural cover fires. Not only for the public safety and property, but our firefighters in the state are responding to these fires.”
He says there are far more fires reported on Independence Day than any other day of the year, and fireworks account for about half of those fires.
“The mindset of many people are that these are consumer fireworks, their simply firecrackers, but when you have a product like that that creates a small explosion, creates the temperature that can be created with fireworks—for example, a sparkler can reach the temperatures of 1800 degrees—you may live with that injury or burn the rest of your life.”
He even says that some city and county leaders are considering banning firework displays.
“With our weather conditions the way they are throughout the state, there are many jurisdictions that may be looking at banning fireworks, discharge of fireworks, in their jurisdiction. So I want to make sure that folks understand and are aware of what those restrictions might be in their area before they partake in discharging fireworks.”
Cole says anyone under the age of 14 cannot purchase fireworks without an adult.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.