Be safe with fireworks; keep 911 open for emergencies

June 20, 2023

Fourth of July fireworks are part of Independence Day celebrations, and the noise complaints and safety issues they can generate lead to high call volumes at 911 call centers across the country. That’s why the City wants to make sure people stay safe during fireworks season and know what to do if they have fireworks-related complaints.

Fireworks safety

  • Read, understand and follow the instructions on each device before using.
  • Use fireworks with close adult supervision.
  • Choose a safe place to use fireworks. Fireworks should only be ignited outdoors and away from animals, buildings, storage tanks, brush or combustible materials.
  • Anyone acting in an irresponsible manner or who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs should not handle or discharge fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks away from small children and store them in a cool dry location away from sources of ignition (heat and flames).
  • Never ignite fireworks inside another container such as a bottle or can.

What’s legal, what’s not

  • Non-explosive fireworks are legal in Minneapolis. Examples include sparklers, cones, tubes that spark, snakes and party poppers.
  • It is legal to use these types of fireworks in your yard or on your sidewalk.
  • Fireworks that explode or take off are illegal in Minneapolis. Examples include firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, roman candles, mortars and shells.
  • It is illegal to use any fireworks on public property including roads, alleys, schools and parks.

When to call 911

For fireworks-related issues that pose life safety threats or fire hazards, residents should call 911 for police, fire or medical help.

Criteria for fireworks-related calls that should go to 911:

  • An imminent threat to people or property, for example fireworks being directed at people or property.
  • Someone needing medical attention.
  • The fireworks causing anything to smolder or start on fire.
  • Fireworks being used by unsupervised juveniles.

Make noise reports online

Reducing the number of noise complaints to 911 will allow emergency calls to be answered as quickly as possible. On a typical Fourth of July evening, Minneapolis 911 receives hundreds of calls per hour, most of which are related to fireworks noise complaints. Compare that to a normal day, when Minneapolis 911 receives fewer than 100 calls per hour. Because of the volume, police officers cannot be dispatched to each fireworks noise incident around the Fourth of July, but calls will be prioritized to ensure public safety.

Instead of calling 911 for Fourth of July noise reports, people are asked to make fireworks complaints online; the reports will be reviewed during normal business hours. Noise reports may also be made through the 311 mobile app or by calling 311 during business hours 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. You can also text “fireworks” to 311898 to enter a fireworks complaint on the City’s website.

Residents should note that Minneapolis 311 is closed July 4, but the mobile application can be used any time to make a report. City staff will review the complaint during normal business hours when offices open again and may follow up with the property owner the complaint references.

For more fireworks safety tips, visit the City website.

Pet tips from Minneapolis Animal Care & Control

Pets can become disoriented and scared around loud noises and lots of people. Minneapolis Animal Care & Control recommends:

  • Keeping your pet safe and at home – ideally in a quiet, secure area – during festivities.
  • Giving your pet a distraction such as a treat, toy or soothing music.
  • Making sure your dog is wearing an ID tag and/or is microchipped (and chip info is current) in case they do get loose.
  • Walking your dog earlier in the day to help tire them out and in case they’re too scared to go out later.