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Officials inspecting firework stands for safety violations

Firework regulations in Missouri allow vendors to sell fireworks from June 20 through July 10. The Boone County Fire Protection District begins inspecting the firework stands during those weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday.

“We’re looking to make sure they’re licensed and make sure they’re safe,” said Gale Blomenkamp, Battalion Chief. “Once people are inside the tent they should have two ways out; that it’s well lit at night time; that they have emergency exit signs; and that they have fire extinguishers.”

The fire extinguishers must be in an accessible place inside the stand. No smoking signs must also be properly displayed inside.

The firework stand must be set up 20 feet away from buildings and at least 50 feet away from any form of gasoline. Cars are not allowed to park closer than 10 feet to the stand.

Blomenkamp said most violations like these are minor.

“It’s nothing that’s significant and nothing that they can’t take care of immediately,” he said. “So it’s not like we’re shutting down the tent and doing those types of things. It’s more of an awareness thing.”

More serious offenses involve vendors selling illegal fireworks. Officials check to make sure all the fireworks are consumer grade.

“We just want to make sure that they are 1.4G,” said Blomenkamp. “Meaning they’re packaged, they have instructions on them, they have warnings on them, and they talk about how to light them and how to use them.”

If the fire district were to find a stand selling illegal fireworks, they would be forced to shut it down and turn the case over to the state Fire Marshall. That may result in the suspension or loss of the owner’s license for up to three years.

The Boone County Fire Protection District is reminding everyone to be careful when setting off fireworks. They suggest following these safety measures:

– Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
– Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because that is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
– Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
– Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
– Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
– Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
– Keep a bucket of water or hose handy.
– Light fireworks one at a time.
– Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

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