Be safe during the Fourth of July holiday weekend

As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the Minneapolis Police Department wants to remind everyone to think safety to prevent tragedies.

Minnesota state law prohibits a number of fireworks products for many reasons including the prevention of severe burns, fires and explosive-related injuries. Often the victims of these injuries are children who are not adequately supervised or who don’t understand the dangers involved.

Although almost all fireworks products are available in adjoining states, all products that explode or fly are illegal in Minnesota. Even legal products in Minnesota such as sparklers can be very dangerous as their burn temperatures range from 1800 to 3000 degrees, hot enough to melt metals. Any skin contact will result in serious burns.

While very popular and unfortunately underestimated, firecrackers can cause severe injuries including the loss of a hand, severe burns or loss of eyesight if it explodes in close proximity. These injuries are magnified if the explosion is close to a smaller hand such as a child’s. Graphic photos depicting the damage that can be done by a single firecracker are available at various websites.

Another hidden danger that lurks every Fourth of July is the contribution of alcoholic beverages to accidents of all kinds including those involving fireworks, cars, boats and drownings. Please remember to drink in moderation especially when engaged in activities where decision making and coordination are critical to personal safety.

Neither the Minneapolis Police Department nor the State Patrol would be affected if a State government shutdown occurs. That means that MPD officers and State Troopers will be out looking to stop drunk drivers before they injure or kill themselves or others. This is often a very deadly weekend on Minnesota roadways and the Minneapolis Police Department encourages everyone to do their part to reduce these tragedies.

Awareness of the dangers that this holiday can potentially bring is the first step to preventing a holiday weekend that you would rather forget.

Please enjoy your Independence Day Holiday and remember those who have sacrificed and those who continue to serve so that we can have this important day.

Published Jun. 30, 2011