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RFD shares safety tips, explains what fireworks are legal or illegal ahead of the holiday weekend

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- With many public fireworks displays being postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, some people may be looking to put on their own shows at home for their family and friends.

Fire officials want to keep residents safe and injury free as they enjoy the holiday and are sharing some safety tips to keep in mind.

"In the United States, on average, there's 19,500 fires caused by fireworks and firework projectiles each year," said K.C. Clark, Motor Operator with the Rochester Fire Department.

Clark explained that Minnesota has some of the strictest laws on fireworks in the country, all in an effort to keep people safe.

"You gotta be really mindful around kids, especially the sparklers. In America there's over 9,000 injuries due to fireworks and firecrackers a year," said Clark.

Clark says a fourth of those injuries are caused by sparklers with most of them happening to children between 3 and 10 years of age.

"We always want to protect the face and hands," said Clark. "So that means eye protections, definitely utilize gloves, and do so in a safe area away from any structures or any dry vegetation."

So besides sparklers, what else is legal in Minnesota?

"Anything that's a ground cone, where it's just going to be shooting up sparks and nothing that's emitting too high in the air, I think it's 10 feet in the air," said Clark. "And there's also whipper snappers that you see kids throw at people's feet."

Always make sure to use these on concrete, at least 30 to 50 feet away from buildings.

"Bottle rockets, roman candles, black cats, mortars, anything that can be projected into the air," said Clark. "Those are considered illegal in the state of Minnesota."

You also want to be mindful of animals that may be frightened by fireworks. It's best to keep them inside or, at the very least, on a leash so they don't run off or run towards the fireworks.

"Our biggest message is that we want people to be safe, be mindful of your children, and be mindful of what you're doing," said Clark.

Another thing to keep in mind heading into the holiday weekend, is grill safety. Make sure to keep children away from grills, have a good distance between the grill and your home or garage, and always make sure the grill is clean and regularly maintained.

Sarah Gannon

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