Posted in News on June 23, 2017
Fourth of July is a time for celebration. Families all over the country fire up the grill, relax by the pool, and finish the night off with fireworks displays. Fireworks are a favorite tradition for many people – but they can also be dangerous. Fireworks caused 15,600 fires in 2013, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC estimates that 10,500 injuries in the U.S. were fireworks related in 2014. Learning the fireworks laws and safety best practices in Montana can keep you and your family safe this Independence Day.
2018 Montana Firework Laws
One of the best ways to stay out of trouble (and out of the hospital) this holiday is by obeying Montana’s firework laws. There is not a statewide firework ban in Montana, but many jurisdictions have enacted their own such laws. Fireworks are not allowed on any national forest land due to the risk of fires. Fire damage in Montana can be devastating. These restrictions are in place to keep Montana’s wildlife and towns safe, since rain this time of year is rare. Fireworks are also not allowed in these cities:
- Columbia Falls
Breaking the rules can result in hefty fines and even jail time. In many cities that do allow fireworks, there are restrictions. Some places permit fireworks during certain days and times. The law in Butte, for example, prohibits fireworks after 10 p.m. Most, if not all, Montana cities have bans on certain fireworks, such as Roman candles and cherry bombs. Check with your city or county for the specific rules in your area.
It doesn’t have to mean a fireworks-free Fourth of July if fireworks aren’t allowed in your city. It simply means you must leave the fireworks shows to the professionals. Cities in Montana that ban fireworks typically have exceptions in place for licensed organizations putting on fireworks displays. Make plans to attend one of these carefully orchestrated shows this year.
What Type of Firework Injuries Happen in Montana?
If you are allowed to use fireworks in your city, do so with care. Fireworks can easily result in fires, burn injuries, and explosions – even if the user is experienced with the product. Fireworks can backfire and cause serious injuries. More than 50% of fireworks-related injuries are burns. Other injuries fall into the following percentages:
- 36% are injuries of the hands and fingers
- 19% of the eyes
- 19% of the head, face, and ears
- 11% to the trunk
- 10% to the legs
- 5% to the arms
Data from the CPSC show that approximately 230 people go to the emergency room each day during the month surrounding the Fourth of July. Don’t become a statistic. Use fireworks with care this season.
Firework Safety Tips
You can prevent fireworks-related injuries by never letting children play with or light fireworks. This includes sparklers. These seemingly “harmless” fireworks burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily cause bad burns. Adult supervision is a must. Other tips include:
- Never point fireworks at other people.
- Make sure fireworks have proper support to prevent them from falling over and shooting any direction other than up.
- Do not try to relight or move fireworks that were “duds” or that did not go off on the first try.
- Keep a water hose nearby in case of a fire emergency.
After a firework has stopped burning, douse it in water before placing it into a trashcan. This can help prevent accidental fires. Keep a close eye on all fireworks activities on your property, and do your part to prevent accidents this Fourth of July.