MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fire officials in Minnesota are bracing for an uptick in fireworks injuries and property damage as more people move to put on their own displays due to COVID-19 cancellations.

Minnesota State Fire Marshal Jim Smith is asking the public to find safe and creative alternatives for celebrating Independence Day to prevent injuries and help reduce strain on first responders.

“The past few months have been stressful for us all and we know people want to celebrate the Fourth of July. But fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable. We need Minnesotans to be safe, not sorry. Let’s not place further burdens on first responders and emergency room staff still working tirelessly to deal with COVID-19.”

Last year in Minnesota, 59 people ended up in hospitals with fireworks injuries. Of those hurt, 43% were 19 years old and under. Officials estimate many more injuries are likely unaccounted for because people treat them at home.

“When adults put fun before safety, kids end up getting hurt,” Smith said. “Fireworks can cause devastating injuries in an instant.”

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Fire officials are also concerned about property damage. Last year between June and July, fireworks caused over $190,000 in damage to homes and other structures in Minnesota.

If you do use fireworks or participate in a neighborhood show, authorities are asking the public to remember:

  • Use fireworks responsibly, especially around children. Kids mimic adult behavior.
  • If it flies or explodes, it’s illegal in Minnesota.
  • Fireworks can be disruptive to neighbors and frightening to pets.
  • Use fireworks outdoors, far from property and crowds.
  • Don’t let children or animals run through the area where fireworks are being set off. They could step on a spent firework that is still hot.
  • Sparklers can cause serious burns. Consider glow sticks or light-up wands as an alternative.
  • Use a long lighter meant for a gas grill to light fireworks.
  • Do not try to re-light a dud. Ever.
  • Soak used fireworks in water and leave them outside overnight before discarding into trash containers.

To see the State Fire Marshal Division’s full list of legal and illegal fireworks in Minnesota click here.