4th of July Safety Reminders

City of Great Falls Montana



DATE:             June 12, 2014

CONTACT:     Dirk Johnson, Fire Marshal Great Falls Fire Rescue  - 727-8070




GREAT FALLS, Montana – Many families enjoy the 4th of July holiday with firework displays at home and while they may be exciting and fun they can also be dangerous. Great Falls Fire Rescue wants to remind those participating in setting off fireworks over the holiday to take the necessary precautions, to be safe and always be aware of the risks of accidents, personal injury and fires associated with the use of fireworks.

Whether it’s the loud noises, bright lights, or how children’s eyes light up when they see the dancing colors – there is no denying that fireworks can bring a  sense of excitement to a 4th of July celebration. The Consumer Product Safety Committee reports 86 fireworks-related deaths between 2000 and 2012, for an average of 6.6 deaths per year.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), eight out of nine (89%) emergency room fireworks injuries involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use.

Great Falls Fire Rescue wants to remind residents to make sure the fireworks they buy are safe and legal and that residents living in Great Falls follow the City’s Fireworks Ordinance.

The City of Great Falls Fireworks Ordinance states that all family or consumer fireworks except stick rockets, bottle rockets and roman candles (not allowed pursuant to State Statute) can be discharged in the City between 8 a.m. and midnight, July 2, 3, and 4.  Children 7 and younger must have a supervising adult within 10 feet in order to control the application of flame or other means to discharge the firework.

Fireworks are messy and tend to cause a lot of debris, please remember to pick up your mess (it is illegal to leave debris from discharged fireworks). Fireworks can only be used on private property, owned by the individual discharging the fireworks and are not allowed on any publicly owned area such as parks, streets, cul-de-sacs, public sidewalks or public-right-of-ways or any publicly owned parking lot/parking space or alley.

When deciding to purchase legal fireworks consumers are urged to take these safety steps:

  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person or place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back to safe distance quickly.
  • After fireworks complete burn, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Follow label directions and use common sense.
  • Do not alter fireworks. Not only are altered fireworks dangerous, they can be classified as illegal.
  • If an item does not work, leave it alone. Do not try to relight it. Pour water on it.
  • A responsible adult should always closely supervise all fireworks activities.
  • Always clean up used fireworks when finished.
  • Injury and fires can result from not using a solid flat level surface.
  • Have a bucket of water or a water hose nearby.
  • Buy only from reliable fireworks outlets.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers will burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.
  • Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

Don’t have your 4th of July celebration spoiled with fines and upset neighbors. The City’s Fireworks Ordinance will be enforced. Fines are steep for those who don’t abide by the law:

  • 1st Offense - $100
  • 2nd Offense - $200
  • 3rd Offense - $300
  • 4th Offense - $1000

The primary concern for Great Falls Fire Rescue is to protect the life and safety of our residents. Great Falls Fire Rescue  wants the community to enjoy the 4th of July and to remember that fireworks even when used properly have the potential to cause fires and accidents. Follow the law, have fun and be safe!  For more information about 4th of July safety contact Dirk Johnson, Great Falls Fire Marshal at 727-8070.