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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

July 1, 2014


Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

DPHHS and State Fire Marshal urge Montanans to celebrate this Fourth of July safely

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials are urging Montanans to play it safe this week while celebrating the Fourth of July.

Every year in Montana there is an average of 40 emergency department visits for fireworks-related injuries, said DPHHS EMS & Trauma System Supervisor Jim DeTienne.

DeTienne said this is an issue that impacts people of all ages. Every year more than half of fireworks-related injuries are to adults (55 percent), and the rest to children. As one might expect, most of the injuries are to the hands. In addition, there were 12 hospitalizations from 2010-12.

“These injuries can easily be prevented if people just keep safety in mind,” DeTienne said. “It’s not worth a trip to the emergency room or being hospitalized due to carelessness with fireworks.”

To avoid injury, follow these safety precautions:

  • Do not allow young children to handle or use fireworks, and supervise teens closely if they are using fireworks.
  • Light fireworks on a level, flat surface away from anything that can burn.
  • Always have water ready to extinguish a fire or soak unexploded fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks by reading the caution label and following the instructions and safety guidelines.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework and wait 15 minutes before picking it up. Soak all “duds” and spent fireworks in a bucket of water.
  • Do not use homemade fireworks or explosives.
  • Be aware of local ordinances. Do not light fireworks in areas where they are prohibited.

State Fire Marshal Allen Lorenz said the main thing to remember is just use common sense. “Light fireworks in a place where sparks and embers will not fall on nearby buildings that could ignite,” he said. “And remember, if you start a fire, you are responsible for all damage expenses.

For more information about ways to enjoy a fun and safe holiday weekend, contact the DPHHS Injury Prevention Program at 444-4126.

Page last updated 07/02/2014