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Fireworks can be dangerous; leave them to the professionals

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 28, 2022) — Independence Day is just ahead, and your plans might include fireworks displays, a backyard picnic, or perhaps fun at the beach. The American Red Cross offers these tips so you can enjoy a fun-packed, safe holiday.

“We’re all looking forward to the 4th of July holiday. It’s a time for fun with friends and family,” said Kevin Coffey, Regional CEO, American Red Cross, Eastern New York Region. “We here at the Red Cross want everyone to enjoy their celebration and to be safe.”

Fireworks Safety

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

New York state law allows for the sale and use of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as sparkling devices. These are ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke. Sale and use of sparkling devices is legal in counties and cities that have NOT enacted a local law prohibiting such activity.

All other types of consumer fireworks, including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners and aerial devices, remain illegal statewide.

** Note:  No consumer fireworks of any kind are allowed on Fort Drum. **

For those who set off fireworks where allowed outside of Fort Drum, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.


Picnic Safety

  • Wash your hands before preparing the food.
  • Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
  • If you are going to cook on the grill, never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
  • Always supervise the grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  •  Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.  


Beach Safety

Watch the weather and get out of the water at the first sign of lightning or the rumble of thunder. Stay indoors and away from water for 30 minutes after the last lightning flashes or thunder roars.

Plan ahead for aquatic activities:

  • Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
  • Always designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.
  • Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive in headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters. Watch out for and avoid aquatic life.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Then, turn and swim to shore. If you can't swim to shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore. Draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help. 

For instant access to safety tips, download the free Red Cross First Aid and Swim apps at http://www.redcross.org/apps.


(American Red Cross and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services)

Fireworks schedule

Members of the public may enjoy Independence Day fireworks displays in the North Country at the following dates and locations:

  • July 3 – Over St. Lawrence River, Clayton
  • July 4 – Over Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay
  • July 4 – Norwood
  • July 4 – Sackets Harbor Battlefield, Sackets Harbor
  • July 5 – At the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair, Gouverneur
  • July 9 – Turning Point Park, Carthage