Celebrate Safely on July 4th

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, Riverfest, a backyard barbecue, or maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever you may have planned, the La Crosse Police Department would like to encourage everyone to plan for a safe and enjoyable 4th of July celebration.  Keep in mind these two important safety topics for this coming holiday: safety on the road when traveling, and the restrictions on the possession and use of fireworks.

The 4th of July holiday is one of the deadliest times for traffic fatalities, and alcohol is involved in at least 40% of these incidents.  Those choosing to consume alcohol should have a designated driver ensuring everyone arrives home safe.  Travelers should allow plenty of time to reach their destination, take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue, obey all traffic laws, and wear their seatbelts.

Second to traffic crash injuries are those injuries suffered by the use of fireworks.  In the State of Wisconsin, the only legal fireworks allowed without a valid permit are:

  • Sparklers
  • Stationary cones and fountains
  • Toy snakes
  • Smoke bombs
  • Caps
  • Noisemakers
  • Confetti poppers with less than ¼ of a grain of explosive

All other fireworks including roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortars, etc. – anything that explodes or leaves the ground – are illegal.  Only individuals or groups with a government-issued permit are allowed these types of fireworks.  Permits issued or sold by vendors are never valid. For those who intend to utilize legal fireworks, note the following safety tips:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Have a running hose or bucket of water available if a firework starts a fire
  • Make sure spectators maintain a safe distance
  • DO NOT try to re-light the fuse of a “dud” firework
  • Before putting used fireworks in the garbage, soak in water
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Also, parents should closely monitor the use of any of the legal fireworks by younger children, who frequently lack the skills to safely handle them.  The majority of firework injuries are suffered by children under the age of 14.

Please have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!


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