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Fireworks safety stressed for New Year's Eve

An additional challenge this year is the gusty winds
Posted at 4:34 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 19:43:48-05

GREAT FALLS — The City of Great Falls said in a press release that Great Falls Fire Rescue reminds people who plan to light fireworks on New Year's Eve to keep safety first in mind, and take necessary steps and precautions to keep themselves and others safe. Always be aware of the risks of accidents, personal injury, and fires associated with the use of fireworks.

One additional challenge this year is the gusty winds in and around Great Falls on New Year's Eve. “The biggest thing tonight would be the high wind, you've got to watch where you're shooting your firework off. Keep an eye on your kids because of the fire hazard, it's been blowing everything, it has been super dry. Normally we have snow this time of the year, this stuff is dangerous if you’re not careful,” said Leo Curtis, who works at Liberty Fireworks Stand.

People discharging fireworks within City limits must follow the City’s Fireworks Ordinance which will be enforced by the City’s police officers and firefighters. Residents can learn more about the City’s Fireworks Ordinance and rules and regulations relating to fireworks by clicking here . Primary rules and regulations include:

  • Fireworks may be discharged on December 31, from 10:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on January 1.
  • Children 9 and younger partaking in the firework festivities must have a supervising adult within 10 feet, in order to control the application of flame or other means to discharge the firework.
  • Residents should only discharge fireworks on private property (sidewalk leading to your residence and or driveway) and should clean up any trash left behind.

“Our goal at Great Falls Fire Rescue is to educate residents about fire prevention and safety. There is no question about it; the data shows that incorrectly used fireworks can cause injury. I personally want the families in our community to be safe while enjoying the holiday. Know the rules, pay attention, and stay safe,” said Dirk Johnson, Great Falls Fire Marshal.

Great Falls Fire Rescue reminds residents of these safety tips when deciding to purchase legal fireworks for New Year's Eve.

  • Read Directions – Read the cautionary labels and directions before discharging.
  • Discharge Outdoors – Always use fireworks outside in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Keep Fireworks away from Others - Never point or throw fireworks at another person or place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse.
  • One at a Time - Light fireworks one at a time, then move back to a safe distance quickly.
  • Have Water Handy! – Have a bucket of water or a water hose nearby to prevent a possible fire. Always remember to douse discharged fireworks with water once they have completely burned before throwing the fireworks away to prevent a trash fire.
  • Adult Supervision - A responsible adult should always closely supervise all fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Clean it Up - Always clean up used fireworks when finished (make sure they are doused with water!).
  • Prevent Injury – Fireworks should never be carried in a pocket or be shot off in metal or glass containers. Fireworks should be used on a solid, flat level surface. Never use altered fireworks. Not only are they dangerous, they can also be illegal.
  • Sparklers - Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers.
  • It Didn’t Light - If a firework does not work, leave it alone. Do not try to relight it. Pour water on it.
  • Buying Fireworks – Purchase fireworks only from reliable outlets. Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper or packaging. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

Remember that not everyone loves fireworks. Be a good neighbor and be sensitive to others when choosing to discharge them. Fireworks can disrupt those sleeping, scare pets, and can be an issue for veterans. Great Falls Fire Rescue wants the community to enjoy the New Year and to remember that fireworks, even when used properly, have the potential to cause fires and accidents. Follow the law, have fun, and be safe! For more information, contact Dirk Johnson, Great Falls Fire Marshal at 406-791-8970.