Friday, August 14, 2020

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Fire Marshal urges Fourth of July fireworks safety

PIERRE, S.D. – While there has been more rain in most of South Dakota this summer, state Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says the public still needs to be safe discharging legal fireworks this July Fourth holiday.

Sale of fireworks in South Da­kota is legal beginning Saturday, June 27. State law allows the pur­chase and discharge of fireworks from June 27 until the Sunday after July 4. This year, that means legal to discharge fireworks through Sunday, July 5.

“We try to stress the impor­tance of being safe and respon­sible with legal fireworks every year,” says Merriman. “But every year we have a few injuries and unintentional fires.”

Individual cities may adopt fireworks limits that are stricter than state law. Merriman recom­mends that citizens check local ordinances and regulations.

This year is also different be­cause rains this month have re­duced the fire danger index more so than usual. But Merriman says people should still be careful with fireworks and fires.

“Mishandled fireworks could start nearby vegetation or struc­tures, including a house, on fire,” he says. “People using common sense will help ensure they and others will enjoy a safe Fourth of July celebration.”

Merriman offers a few simple safety tips: Follow the instruc­tions on the product, avoid using fireworks in places where a fire could start and keep a source of water handy.

Sparklers, popular with young­er children, can cause painful burns and should be used with adult supervision, according to Merriman.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the state Department of Public Safety.