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Celebrating the 4th of July safely

Emily Ness
Updated: June 27, 2020 11:12 PM

As the 4th of July approaches, officials are encouraging the public to light up the streets and sidewalks with pictures of fireworks drawn with chalk in addition to lighting up the sky with actual fireworks. This is part of a campaign called Chalk it up for Safety.

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Corwin Groom, Deputy Fire Marshall for the Duluth Fire Department said the goal of the campaign is to prevent potential injuries caused by fireworks that could lead to unnecessary hospitalizations during the pandemic. 

“Every year, more than 70 people are hospitalized from firework injuries in Minnesota and this year would be a great year to stay out of the hospital,” Groom said.

But, it's not just injuries that are cause for concern. To date, officials say there have been over 100 firework complaints in Duluth this June compared to 21 firework complaints last June.

“I think its related to the pandemic and people feeling cooped up,” Groom said.

At TNT’s Fireworks, Jodi Robertson, tent operator said sales have been up over 200%.

“It’s been pretty incredible,” Robertson said. “We opened up about five days earlier than we typically do and people were ready right away. In fact, we had to place another order of product.”

Officials urge those who do choose to light fireworks to do so safely.

Groom recommends lighting fireworks away from buildings or anything that could ignite and keeping a bucket or water or hose handy should a firework ignite.

“We are in the middle of a drought year so always make sure that you have a bucket of water or hose nearby” Groom said.

Groom also advises not to try re-igniting duds, but rather to soak them with water instead.

“Always make sure you control the area where you are lighting off fireworks. Make sure that kids and pets can't run through the area,” Groom said. “Children will mimic your behavior and while you might take risks that you are comfortable with, it might not be appropriate for children, so always use fireworks responsibly.”

Officials also urge those who do choose to light fireworks to do so legally.

In Minnesota, fireworks that leave the ground and explode are illegal.

No matter how people choose to celebrate, officials ask that they be considerate of their neighbors, veterans who have PTSD, children who may be sleeping and pets who may be scared.

Credits

Emily Ness

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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