Setting off fireworks is illegal within the city limits of Sedalia, and the Pettis County Sheriff's Office and Fire Departments urge you not to set off your own fireworks this 4th of July.  They suggest you attend the public display at the Missouri State Fairgrounds instead.  That's good advice.  And like all good pieces of advice, there will be people that won't follow it.  Here are a few tips so you can be as safe as possible should you decide your own display is the way to go.

  1. Spray down the launch site with a hose beforehand.  If you're only setting off fireworks that stay on the ground, spray down a spot that is at least 30 feet in diameter. If you're using things like bottle rockets and roman candles, it should ideally be 150 feet in diameter.  And obviously, don't choose a launching spot that looks dry.
  2. Keep the hose nearby, just in case.  If a hose won't reach, then at least have a fire extinguisher handy.  Even a bucket of water is better than nothing
  3. Be aware of how windy it is.  If the wind picks up, let it die down before you set anything else off.  Even one little spark can start a fire if it lands in the wrong place.
  4. Designate an adult to watch for any sparks that hit the ground.  If a fire does start, at least one of you needs to be paying attention so you can douse it as quickly as possible.  If you're all looking up, you might not notice right away.
  5. Don't get overconfident.  Even if you're only using small fireworks, you can still start a fire or hurt yourself by mistake.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were at least 6,300 fireworks-related injuries in 2010, and about 20% of them were caused by sparklers.  Another 6% were caused by bottle rockets.

Still, the best thing you can do to prevent fires is to wait until we get some rain before you set them off.  Enjoy your Fourth of July and be safe!