GFFR reminds residents of fireworks rules, safety

As the July 4 holiday approaches, Great Falls Fire Rescue is reminding the public to be aware of the city’s fireworks rules and regulations, plus safety tips.

Primary rules and regulations include:

  • The selling and discharging of fireworks within the incorporated limits of Great Falls can only take place on July 2, 3, and 4 from 8 a.m. to midnight.
  • Children under 10 years old 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 always clean up any trash that is left behind from the discharging of fireworks.

Residents can learn more about the city’s rules and regulations relating to fireworks by referring to the Great Falls Code of Ordinances, Chapter 9 – FIREWORKS. The city’s fireworks ordinance is enforced by the city’s police officers and firefighters.

GFFR also wants to remind those setting off fireworks over the holiday to take the 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.

“Our goal at Great Falls Fire Rescue is to educate residents about fire prevention and safety. Annually, fireworks start over 19,000 fires and send over 9,000 people to the emergency room each year. We hope that through proper education and use of fireworks, the citizens of Great Falls will not be part of these statistics. Know the rules, pay attention, and stay safe,” Fire Marshal Mike McIntosh said in a release.

4th of July fireworks safety tips:

  • 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. GFFR wants the community to enjoy the 4th of July and remember that fireworks, even when used properly, can cause fires and accidents. For more information about 4th of July safety, contact GFFR at 406-727-8070.