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OPINION: No thanks Gov. Cox, I won’t buy and store fireworks

A fireworks stand is photographed at Smith's on 900 West 800 South in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (Photo/Laura Seitz)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Spencer Cox is in a tough spot. But not to the point it warrants the silly piece of advice he dished up, asking Utahns to buy and store fireworks.

It’s a piece of advice I think creates a hazard for Utah families. Let me set the scene.

Utah is in a mega-drought that is years long. The entire state is extremely dry. 

In a prudent first step to prevent fires on state lands, Gov. Cox announced a ban on fireworks in those areas.

But there are plenty of other tinder-dry places where they are still legal to light.

If the governor calls for a sweeping ban, which he hasn’t, parking lot fireworks stands will take a big financial hit in the prime month of July.

Keep in mind, Utah is pro-business.

Hence, the governor is in a tough spot.

This leads me to me the silliest piece of advice I’ve heard about fireworks, and unfortunately, it came from our own governor during a virtual town hall session Tuesday.

“Go buy them, support the local economy and those that are in the fireworks business. But, save them until we’re in better times,” Gov. Cox advised.

Buy and save fireworks? 

Save them, where, in my garage? 

Next to the gallon of weed killer?

No. No. And no!

For starters, governor, fireworks are pricey. I don’t “go buy them” to stash them away in the corner of my messy garage, then pray for rain to fix our drought, so I can supervise my neighborhood’s DIY July 2022 epic fireworks show.

But more importantly, your suggestion has disaster written all over it when it comes to the safety of families.

Here’s what a fire department captain in Kansas told a local news reporter when she detailed safety advice about leftover fireworks.

“People will store unused fireworks in their garage or in their shed, or inside their house, and if their house catches fire, now all the sudden we got a pretty decent size of explosives.”

Yikes! All the way from Wichita, Kansas, that fire captain had me at, “decent size of explosives!”

From the moment Utah Gov. Spencer Cox made the suggestion, it hit me, even if I dump $100 or more into a mega-pack of fireworks, to prop up my local parking lot fireworks stand, I have no clue how to safely store them.

I’m sure many Utah residents are clueless too.

So, I Googled, “how to safely store unused fireworks at home”.

Lists of online safety tips ignited a new headache for me.

To keep my stash of unused fireworks safe, I would need to:

  • Store them in an enclosed plastic container (news to me)
  • Duct tape the lid to the box (so the lid doesn’t pop off I supposed)
  • Keep them in a dry place (so they don’t get wet and get ruined, which would actually be a blessing to me)
  • I shouldn’t store them next to hot water heaters or furnaces (this seems like the fire hazard the Kansas fire captain was hinting at)
  • Store them away from my home, such as in a locked shed (my shed is old, doesn’t lock, and is already stuffed full of elementary school projects my grown kids left behind)

Parents, I sure hope we don’t need advice from online safety sites to know unused fireworks must be kept out of the reach of curious kids. Actually, all kids.

We know that already, right?

Governor Cox, I don’t fault you for being pro-business.

But I do hope your pro-business stance didn’t spark your suggestion that families buy and then store fireworks.

While it may help local fireworks dealers stay afloat in a drought, it doesn’t measure up to my family’s safety plan.

And my family’s safety comes first.