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Use caution with fireworks

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opinion Hastings, 55033

Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

The 4th of July weekend is upon us. We at the Hastings Fire Department would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday weekend. There are a few things we would like you to consider before you make choices on how to celebrate over the holiday weekend.

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Many of you will choose to celebrate with some type of fireworks; there are many available, but before you spend your hard earned money on them there are a few things you need to know.

In the State of Minnesota aerial and explosive fireworks are prohibited for public sale, possession and use; simply stated, if they fly or explode, they are illegal.

The legal fireworks you find at many local stands include non-aerial and non-explosive fireworks, which can include sparklers, cones and tubes that emit sparks, snakes, etc. These fireworks are legal, but remember, this does not make them safe.

Every year around the 4th of July many people are seriously injured by both legal and illegal fireworks. During the 4th of July weekend 2008, there were 64 injuries in the state of Minnesota. Of those, 25 people were between the ages of 10 and 19.

If you choose to use fireworks, here are some safety tips:

Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks;

Read all warnings and instructions;

Be sure all people and property are at a safe distance;

Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned; and

Only light fireworks on smooth flat surfaces, away from houses, dry leaves, and any other flammable materials.

Fireworks can cause serious injury and extensive property damage, so please be safe and have a happy 4th of July.

John Townsend is the Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal for the city of Hastings.

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