Fireworks are an integral part of any Independence Day celebration. The pyrotechnics represent freedom and the tradition of the holiday. This year, concerns surrounding the coronavirus may lead to more backyard fireworks displays.
“I think people are going to want to get out and light it up,” Lew’s Fireworks Sales Manager Lucas Nogelmeier said. “Definitely, I think people will be doing their own thing.”
Lew’s Fireworks has two locations in Aberdeen and is stocking up for June 27 when South Dakota law allows residents to begin buying and discharging fireworks.
Matthew Vogel is the owner of Family Fireworks which has locations in Aberdeen, Frederick, and at Mina Lake. Vogel is also anticipating a bump in interest in personal fireworks displays due to the current concerns about COVID-19 and large group gatherings.
“Fireworks have always been an American tradition and this year may be more than normal. It just gives everyone a reason to celebrate,” Vogel said.
Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to personal pyrotechnics. According to Nogelmeier, consumer-grade fireworks have made many advancements over the past several years. Customers no longer are limited to basic bottle rockets, sparklers, and roman candles.
“Twenty years ago, it was tough to shoot your own show, but today I see personal displays with consumer fireworks that rival some of the professional shows,” Nogelmeier said. But with the bigger displays comes a bigger responsibility to stay safe when lighting up that backyard show.
Follow Local Rules
One of the first things consumers should do before they start setting off a display is to check local rules and ordinances in the area. Here are a few local laws to keep in mind:
- In South Dakota, it is only legal to buy and discharge fireworks between June 27-July 5.
- The city of Aberdeen does not allow any fireworks to be discharged within city limits and within one-mile of city property outside city limits.
- The city of Redfield does not allow any fireworks to be lit inside city limits.
- Fireworks can be discharged throughout Brown and Spink counties as long as residents are being safe and only discharging them during the period allowed by state law.
Consumers should also follow several safety precautions when lighting fireworks. The first thing they should do is read the package and become familiar with the fireworks.
“Rule number one is to read the directions. Pay attention to warning labels,” Nogelmeier said.
The second tip is to make sure there is enough space for family members, neighbors, and spectators to safely watch the display.
“When the crowd is sitting on top of something and when it goes wrong that’s when you have issues,” Vogel said.
Fireworks should always be lit on a hard, flat, and stable surface. Consumers who are setting up an at-home display should also try to set up some sort of barricade between the area where the fireworks are being lit and where spectators are sitting. Experts also recommend having a bucket of water, a hose, or some source of water nearby in case something goes wrong or catches on fire.
“As with anything practice good personal responsibility,” Nogelmeier said.
Experts say if area residents take the proper precautions and take a little time to become familiar with the fireworks they are purchasing, it should lead to a safe backyard celebration full of booms and bangs on Independence Day.
Fireworks Safety Tips
- Always purchase high-quality legal fireworks from reliable sources.
- Read and follow all printed instructions on labels.
- Keep spectators at a safe distance.
- Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks.
- Don't aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a firework or explosive.
- Only use fireworks outdoors away from buildings on a flat, level, hard, fireproof surface that is free from debris.
- Have a garden hose or bucket of water nearby to quickly extinguish fireworks that may spark a fire.
- Light only one firework at a time and never approach or light a firework that doesn't light the first time.
- Allow used fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes, submerge in water, drain, place in a plastic bag, and dispose outside in a covered trash can.