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The original item was published from 7/21/2017 1:03:42 PM to 7/29/2017 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: June 28, 2017

[ARCHIVED] West Fargo fire chief encourages caution with fireworks

Fuller, Dan

As West Fargo residents prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July with a dazzling display of fireworks, Dan Fuller, chief of the West Fargo Fire Department, would like to remind revelers that safety should be top of mind when working with fireworks – especially as our area experiences abnormally dry conditions.

“Fireworks are legal to use in West Fargo and we have two concerns this year as we go into the holiday,” said Fuller. “First, we always want to ensure that individuals are following proper firework safety to avoid injury.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for firework-related injuries in 2015, with most of the injuries affecting the head and extremities and 25 percent of the injuries impacting children younger than 15.

West Fargo is currently not under a fireworks or burn restriction or ban and fireworks are legal to use in West Fargo under certain conditions: individual must be at least 12 years of age to use them; fireworks are only legal from 8 a.m. (CST) July 4 to 11:59 p.m. (CST) July 4; and, fireworks cannot be used on public property without written permission, or on another person’s private property without written permission.

To protect against injury, Fuller recommends residents:

  • Designate one adult to shoot the fireworks and ensure they read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or while lighting fireworks. Save it for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. Never relight a “dud.”
  • Do not shoot fireworks off in your hand, or carry them in your pocket.

“Our second concern this year is that we have very dry conditions that can easily lead to fires in the area,” said Fuller. “The National Fire Protection Association has statistics that show fireworks are responsible for an average of 18,500 fires per year, which caused an average of three deaths, 40 injuries and $43 million in property damage.”

Recently, Governor Doug Burgum proclaimed a statewide fire and drought emergency and ordered all state agencies to maintain high levels of readiness. According to the announcement, extremely dry conditions, lack of precipitation and high winds have created a fire emergency and conditions aren’t expected to improve in the near future. This proclamation mobilized the state’s Emergency Operations Plan, which allows multiple agencies to assist in the event of a significant fire event.

To mitigate the risk of fire in our area, which has a moderate fire danger rating, Fuller recommends residents:

  • Shoot fireworks off concrete and make sure they aren’t directed to go over a house or other structure.
  • Keep a bucket of water and hose nearby to extinguish any flames.
  • Soak used fireworks in water and placed them in a metal trash can away from a building or combustible material until the next day.

For more details on firework safety, visit Residents can also call the West Fargo Fire Department at 701-433-5380 with any fireworks questions or concerns they might have.

“Following these tips and using extreme caution with fireworks is important to ensure a celebration doesn’t turn into a tragic event,” said Fuller.

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