Stay safe with fireworks

Gray Hughes
Independence Day is here and, with the celebration of our nation’s independence comes fireworks.
Yes, there are the fireworks at Mount Rushmore National Memorial this year, but that’s not the only reason why fireworks are on the mind of the Pennington County Fire Administration.
“Every year law enforcement and public safety agencies are flooded with questions about fireworks,” the administration said in a release. “To accommodate the interest and answer questions efficiently, the Emergency Services Communication Center will again host a special line dedicated to information related to fireworks: what is legal, where and public displays. The public may call 605-394-2151, option 9, for answers to fireworks and related questions.”
Other than novelty fireworks, no fireworks are permitted within the city limits of Hill City and Keystone as well as Black Hills Fire Protection District, Rapid City (and a one-mile radius from city limits) and Wall. The fire administration defines novelty fireworks as party poppers, snappers, sparklers and toy caps.
For reference, the fire administration says the boundary of the Black Hills Fire Protection District is “basically anything west of Highway 79 from Hot Springs to approximately I-90, exit 61. The boundary follows I-90 east of Black Hawk and Piedmont.”
Box Elder allows for the discharge of fireworks within city limits from July 3-5 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. New Underwood allows fireworks within city limits starting June 27 and ending July 5.
“When permitted, South Dakota state law allows the discharge of fireworks from June 27 through July 5, 2020,” the fire administration said in its release. “The illegal use of fireworks is an offense punishable by a fine of up to $500, 30 days in jail or both. Citations may be issued after 11 p.m. or any time during the day when someone is reckless or negligent with fireworks.”
Currently, there is no ban on the discharge of fireworks outside the boundaries of the municipalities that are not within the Black Hills Fire Protection District, the fire administration says. Consumer grade fireworks are permitted to be discharged per South Dakota State Statute 34-37-16.1 June 27-July 5 only.
The discharge of fireworks in these areas should be done in a safe manner on the individual’s own property or with the permission of the landowner. Fire works are not allowed to be discharged on public land, or public roadways, as well as at or from a moving vehicle. Those who discharge fireworks are strongly encouraged to clean up all litter created.
According to information provided by the fire administration, 280 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the months around the July 4 holiday with 14 percent of the injuries from sparklers, 12 percent of the injuries from reloadable shells, 10 percent from firecrackers, four percent from Roman candles, three percent from bottle rockers, eight percent from novelties, two percent from multiple tubes, two percent from fountains and 39 percent were unspecified. A total of 11 percent of the injuries were for people age 0-4, 11 percent of the injuries were from people 5-9, 14 percent were from people age 10-14, 14 percent were from people age 15-19, 15 percent were from people 20-24, 28 percent were from people age 25-44, six percent from people age 45-64 and one percent from people age 65 and older.
“Fireworks start an average of 18,5000 fires per year,” the fire administration said, “including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires (started by fireworks) caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.”
Throughout the Hills, fireworks will light up the night in the coming days. Fireworks displays will be held on:
July 2: Belle Fourche (BH Round-Up, 10 p.m.-10:30 p.m., after rodeo)
July 3: Belle Fourche (BH-Round-Up, 10 p.m.-10:30 p.m., after rodeo)
July 3: Mount Rushmore National Memorial (ticket required, 9:30 p.m.-9:45 p.m.)
July 3: Sturgis (Sturgis Fairgrounds, dusk)
July 4: Custer (Pageant Hill, dusk)
July 4: Hot Springs (dusk)
July 4: Phillip (Lake Waggoner, dusk)
July 4: Piedmont (The Barn, dusk)
July 4: Rapid City (Executive Golf Course, dusk, rain date July 5)
July 4: Rapid City (Black Hills Speedway, after races, rain date July 5)
July 4: Rapid City (Post 22 baseball, 10 p.m. after game)
July 5: Wall (golf course at dusk)
To stay safe when using fireworks, follow these tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
Never point or throw fireworks at another person
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers
After fireworks burn out, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them
Be extra careful with sparklers: little arms are too short to hold sparklers. Let young children use glow sticks instead, and always closely supervise children around fireworks
Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks
Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass
Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix
Do not bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one
If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound
Make sure your pet has an identification tag in case it runs off during a fireworks display
Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc) near pets

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