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A hallmark of the Fourth of July, fireworks are a beautiful spectacle to behold, but if you want to set them off in your own backyard rather than going to one of the local fireworks shows, there are some things you should know. First, cities and counties in the St. Louis metro area have different rules and regulations. Currently, personal fireworks displays are prohibited in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. If you live in unincorporated St. Charles, Franklin, or Jefferson counties, the use and sale of personal fireworks are allowed, but check with your city first.
Most cities in St. Charles county prohibit the sale and use of fireworks, including Wentzville, St. Peters, O'Fallon and Lake Saint Louis, even though fireworks are allowed in unincorporated areas. Also, check your city and county's rules and regulations. In unincorporated St. Charles county, fireworks can only be set off between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. from July 2 to July 5 by people who are over 15 or who are supervised by an adult. No pinwheels, fire balloons, roman candles, or toy pistols can be set off. Violation of the ordinance can lead to a fine of up to $500.
If you can use personal fireworks, you should also know about the state's fireworks regulations. In Missouri, it is illegal to
- Set off fireworks within 600 feet of any church, hospital, mental health facility or school or within 100 feet of where fireworks are stored or sold;
- Ignite fireworks within 300 feet of any gas station or where gas is permanently stored;
- Throw fireworks from or into a motorized vehicle including watercraft or at or near any person.
Hopefully you weren't planning on throwing fireworks at anyone, but even if you're planning a small display in your backyard, fireworks safety should be a priority. In 2008, U.S. emergency rooms treated 7,000 firework injuries, and seven deaths were reported. Most injuries involved eyes or hands and fingers, and burns accounted for 56 percent of the injuries. The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends the following:
- Only use fireworks outdoors;
- Be sure to have a water supply nearby;
- Wear safety glasses;
- Read the instructions on the fireworks carefully and follow the directions;
- Avoid alcohol;
- Don’t try to relight a dud firework;
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in the trash;
- Don’t use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives.
For more information on fireworks safety, click here.