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On the road or in the yard: safety first this weekend

The holiday weekend is upon us and included in all the fun and revelry of the weekend are some dangers. Rosemount public safety workers urge residents to take some caution this weekend as they celebrate Independence Day.

Fireworks are fun for adults and kids alike but can cause serious injuries if not used properly said fire chief Scott Aker. Improper use of fireworks can cause burns or even death.

To stay safe, Aker recommends residents light devices from the ground in open outdoor areas. While there has been a lot of rain recently Aker said fires can still start, so he recommended residents have water on hand to put out any stray fires.

Assistant fire chief Jim Voelker said the fire department has had few calls during the holiday. He hopes that trend will continue this year.

"We've been pretty lucky," Voelker said.

Police chief Gary Kalstabakken had some simple words of advice for anyone who wants to have fun with fireworks.

"If it explodes or goes in the air it's not legal," said Kalstabakken. " And if you had to drive to Wisconsin to get it, it's not legal either."

Getting caught with illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

"While Rosemount doesn't have a display several of the neighboring communities do. Leave the big stuff to the professionals," said Voelker.

While kids will want play with fireworks as well, Voelker warned that the devices aren't toys and even small things like sparklers can cause serious injuries. Adults should supervise all activity, he added.

When using fireworks Kalstabakken also encouraged some etiquette.

"Think about your neighbor and don't shoot something off at 11 or 12 at night," said Kalstabakken.

Along with fireworks, people tend to celebrate the holiday by knocking back a few drinks. Kalstabakken said folks should plan ahead and play it safe. He recommended having a designated driver.

"It's fine to party, just have someone who isn't drinking take you home," said Kalstabakken.

So far this year the Rosemount Police Department has made 52 arrests for DWIs. He anticipates that number will go up over the weekend.

And if one or the other is dangerous by itself Kalstabakken said it's doubly important not to mix alcohol and fireworks. He recommended having a designated shooter as well.

While both Kalstabakken and Voelker have their forces ready for whatever comes this weekend, they both hope their services won't be needed.

"It's generally a pretty quite weekend for us," said Kalstabakken.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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