MINNETONKA — The Fourth of July weekend is full of fireworks. Setting off fireworks to celebrate the birth of our nation is an American pastime.

Every day in the 30 days surrounding Independence Day, 280 people go to the emergency room with firework-related injuries, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority of these injuries are burns on the arms, hands, legs or feet.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Safety Council have some tips to have a safe and fun holiday.

Do:

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of fire.
  • Supervise small children with sparklers.
  • Back away from a firework quickly after lighting the fuse.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Douse fireworks in water after they are done burning to avoid a trash fire.
  • Use fireworks far away from houses, buildings and other people.
  • Wear closed-toed shoes.

Do not:

  • Let children set off fireworks.
  • Lean over a firework when lighting the fuse.
  • Throw or point a firework at another person.
  • Carry fireworks in a pocket.
  • Re-light a firework that hasn’t ignited fully.
  • Shoot off a firework in a metal or glass container.
  • Drink alcohol and set off fireworks.
  • Use homemade fireworks.

Fireworks that fly or explode are illegal in Minnesota. Legal fireworks in Minnesota are sparklers, cones and tubes that let off sparks, and snakes and party poppers, Minnetonka's Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Luke Berscheit wrote in the July Minnetonka Memo. Fireworks are only legal on private property in Minnesota — parks and beaches are off limits.

Berscheit says if anything goes wrong, big or small, to call 911.

For more information about firework safety visit cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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