Missoula Rural Fire District – Don’t Mix Alcohol With Fireworks

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As the 4th of July approaches, it’s important to review the dos and don’ts of fireworks in Missoula County. Dodd McDermott is the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Missoula Rural Fire District and he has the answers.

“Fireworks are legal in the county, but they are legal on private property and not permitted on public property or state or federal lands,” McDermott said. “That’s something you have to remember. You need to know your fireworks and be prepared. Responsible adults must supervise at all times. Never give fireworks to young children. You never want to mix your booze and your fireworks.

According to McDermott, the release of the now popular sky lanterns can cause fires that cause damage to homes and property.

“Something that has come up in recent years that could be of great interest is sky lanterns,” McDermott said. “The NFPA has banned sky lanterns due to the high number of resulting fires. The state of Montana allows them if attached, but it’s best not to use them. I think that would be something to remember.

McDermott also provided some fireworks safety tips.

“One thing you should never do is aim fireworks at people or houses,” McDermott said. “Always light them on a sturdy solid surface where they are unlikely to topple over and wear safety glasses. Light one firework at a time, then quickly move away. Always use your fireworks outdoors in an open area away from buildings and vehicles and never light fireworks indoors.

McDermott said it’s important to remember that you are responsible for any damage your fireworks may cause.

“Whoever lit the fireworks is responsible or any supervising adult is responsible for any damage that may be caused by those fireworks,” McDermott said. “If you like someone’s house burning down, someone’s vehicle burning down, or someone hurting someone, it can be very, very expensive. It will dry out very quickly with these hot days. Even in the humidity, anything can burn, so we just hope everyone is safe. We want everyone to have a happy, safe and festive 14th of July.

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