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Fourth of July brings with it a reminder in fireworks safety

Fireworks shows, big and small, will be on display throughout the county.

The small ones, mostly just people shooting fireworks in their yard, bring safety to the forefront.

Robert Strand, a police officer for Detroit Lakes, said that a lot of what goes into fireworks safety is just common sense.

And that includes shooting off legal fireworks.

Minnesota-legal fireworks are those that don't shoot off the ground. Illegal fireworks include firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars.

Strand said that in the time he's been in the area, the number of people caught with illegal fireworks has been small.

"It's just a handful," he said.

That doesn't stop people from wanting the illegal fireworks.

"I'd say 30-40 percent want the illegal ones," said Tim Olson, manager of the TNT Fireworks tent near Wal-Mart.

He said that most of those who want the bottle rockets and firecrackers are young adults.

His main customer base is parents who want to give their kids a thrill. Olson said that Minnesota-legal fireworks do the trick.

Those caught will illegal fireworks face confiscation and a mandatory court appearance, Strand said.

The biggest issue facing law enforcement are complaints from neighbors.

Strand said that those who shoot off their own fireworks should just do it on one night, rather than spreading it our over several nights.

"We're just asking people to be neighborly," Strand said.

Fireworks safety tips

- Set a goof example by using legal fireworks.

- Wear shoes. Avoid hats and loose clothing.

- Light one item at a time.

- Never try to relight a dud.

- Keep a bucket of water handy.

- Avoid areas with dry grass.

Source: Minnesota Department of Public Safety