Fire marshal urges fireworks safety

With retail sale of fireworks now open in South Dakota, State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman is asking residents to play it safe as they celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

Fireworks sales are legal from June 27 through July 5 in South Dakota. Fireworks may be discharged in the state during that same period, unless local ordinances set tighter limits, Merriman said.

Cities may adopt more stringent limits on use of fireworks. It's best to check local ordinances and regulations, he said.

"Fireworks are a traditional part of the Independence Day celebration, but every year we have a few injuries and some unintentional fires,'' Merriman said. "This year, conditions across much of South Dakota are extremely dry, and we really need everyone to cooperate in using common sense with their fireworks.''

Two simple safety tips are to follow the instructions on the product and to avoid using fireworks in places where a fire could start, Merriman said.

"Err on the side of caution, and if there's any doubt at all whether you are in a safe location, please find a better spot to use your fireworks,'' he said. "Beyond that, if the instructions say to light the fuse and get away, please do that. Don't combine different types of fireworks or try to explode home-made ones. Keep a source of water handy and never try to relight a dud.''

Merriman also reminded parents that, while sparklers are popular with younger children, they can cause painful burns and should be used with adult supervision.

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