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Fireworks safety and guidance

Posted at 6:33 AM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 13:08:11-04

With the start of firework sales in Cascade County, stand owners are prepared for business - with a wide selection of merchandise and many helpful tips in the works.

Adam Wilson of TNT Fireworks in Black Eagle said he expects business will return in full force this season due to quarantine.

“I’m optimistic that just due to the recent events since March in the country that everybody has been inside for a while and is gonna want to get out and blow off some steam and some fireworks. So hopefully this is a great year for sales and by the fourth of July is bare,” Wilson said.

Although many appreciate the firework displays vivid colors and echoing boom, pets and small children are likely to be startled by these types of displays. Wilson said there are several options to accommodate an audience with varied firework preferences.

For children who might be more at risk of injury than sensitive to sound, he recommends pop-its, snack packs, sparklers, or a pyro pak. For pets, who are sometimes scared by loud noises, he suggests sparklers as they don’t make noise.

If you have specific firework preferences, Wilson advises you buy them early since many items sell-out as the holiday approaches.

People discharging fireworks within Great Falls city limits must comply with the fireworks ordinance which will be enforced by police officers and firefighters.

Primary rules and regulations include:

  • The selling and discharging of fireworks within the incorporated limits of Great Falls can only take place on July 2, 3 and 4 from 8:00 a.m. to midnight (per City Code - §9.9).
  • Children under the age of 10 partaking in the firework festivities must have a supervising adult within 10 feet, in order to control the application of flame or other means to discharge the firework.
  • Residents should only discharge fireworks on private property (sidewalk leading to your residence and or driveway) and should always clean up any trash that is left behind from the discharging of fireworks.

Offenses can be fined as follows: 1st offense - $100, 2nd offense - $200, 3rd offense - $300.

Great Falls Fire Rescue provided these safety tips to keep in mind if you plan to discharge fireworks:

  • Read Directions – Read the cautionary labels and directions before discharging.
  • Discharge Outdoors – Always use fireworks outside in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Keep Fireworks away from Others - Never point or throw fireworks at another person or place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse.
  • One at a Time - Light fireworks one at a time, then move back to a safe distance quickly.
  • Have Water Handy! – Have a bucket of water or a water hose nearby to prevent a possible fire. Always remember to douse discharged fireworks with water once they have completely burned before throwing the fireworks away to prevent a trash fire.
  • Adult Supervision - A responsible adult should always closely supervise all fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Clean it Up - Always clean up used fireworks when finished (make sure they are doused with water!).
  • Prevent Injury – Fireworks should never be carried in a pocket or be shot off in metal or glass containers.Fireworks should be used on a solid, flat level surface. Never use altered fireworks. Not only are they dangerous, they can also be illegal.
  • Sparklers - Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers.
  • It Didn’t Light - If a firework does not work, leave it alone. Do not try to relight it. Pour water on it.
  • Buying Fireworks – Purchase fireworks only from reliable outlets. Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper or packaging. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.

The City says that people should consider that not everyone loves fireworks. They ask that you be a good neighbor and be sensitive to others when choosing to discharge them. Fireworks can disrupt those sleeping, scare pets, and can be an issue for veterans. 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!