The Mankato Department of Public Safety said fireworks are associated with many injuries each year, and they are asking people to use caution with them in order to avoid injury.

Deputy Director Jeff Bengtson is urging people to plan ahead for something to go south because, “Things do go wrong from time to time and if you just consider that you might get a dud, you might get a fast fuse – if you plan for that you can help keep yourself and your family safe.”

A substantial number of fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers, which Bengtson said many consider a ‘safe’ firework but, “They burn very hot and often times children tend to get hurt by sparklers more than anybody.”

Mankato Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Jeff Bengtson.

He said parents need to use their own discretion as to whether their child is old enough to handle a sparkler, and they should maintain close and constant supervision.

Bengtson said drinking also tends to be a factor in fireworks injuries and damage and, “Folks that are using alcohol or medications that may impair their judgment should not be handling fireworks.”

Many types of fireworks are illegal in Minnesota and Bengtson said that includes, “Basically, anything that goes up in the air or explodes – like firecrackers, roman candles, rockets – those are all illegal fireworks. Good rule of thumb is if you had to drive to another state to buy the fireworks they are probably of an illegal nature.”

The safety tips from the Mankato Fire Department include:

  • For optimum safety, follow instructions closely when using fireworks.
  • Fireworks are for use by adults or with adult supervision.
  • Handle fireworks responsibly and with care.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Keep small children away from fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers cause the largest number of firework injuries.
  • Use fireworks a safe distance from animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush and combustible materials.
  • Never experiment with, make, or alter fireworks (federal government does not allow this).
  • Do not carry fireworks in pockets.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry location away from heat and flames.
  • Light one firework at a time and then move away quickly.
  • Never place any body part, especially the head, over the firework when lighting. Instead, approach the item from the side and keep the body away from as it’s lighted.
  • Never throw or aim fireworks at a person, animal or building.
  • Keep clear of fireworks that do not go off or fail to go off for an extended time. Do not relight fireworks that have malfunctioned. Instead, soak these fireworks in water before handling them. It’s recommended to report defective fireworks to the seller or Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Keep lit cigarettes, pipes, and cigars away from fireworks.
  • Avoid using fireworks that have dried after being wet.

Those under the influence of alcohol or other medications should not handle or discharge fireworks.