As Independence Day Approaches, Fire Marshal Cautions Montanans
HELENA – With Independence Day just a few days away, Montana Fire Marshal Terry Phillips Monday reminded Montanans that fireworks and children can be a dangerous combination.
“Fireworks should be used only under the immediate supervision of an adult,” Phillips said. “The statistics speak for themselves.”
Indeed, 2000 statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that during a one-month period around July 4, children ages 14 and under accounted for 49 percent of fireworks-related injuries. Children aged 5 to 14 years accounted for 35 percent of those injuries.
Phillips also said seemingly “safe” fireworks, like smoke bombs, can be dangerous. During the summer of 2001, a fire that started when a child lit a smoke bomb in a building with a straw-covered floor destroyed an historic Helena mansion.
Phillips recommended children and their families celebrate Independence Day by enjoying fireworks displays conducted by professionals. He also directed Montana kids to the NFPA’s website at http://sparky.org/cooljune.html for fun, safe ways to celebrate America’s birthday this year.
Phillips also reminded Montana residents that certain fireworks are illegal everywhere in the state.
“M-80′s, silver salutes or similar Class B explosives are federally controlled,” he said. “Possession of these illegal fireworks may result in federal charges anywhere in Montana, including Indian reservations.”
Phillips said questions regarding fireworks or the suspected improper use of fireworks may be directed to local fire departments and law enforcement; county sheriffs’ offices or his office in Helena at 406-444-2050.