In the United States, the Fourth of July is a weekend full of friends, family, cookouts, and FIREWORKS! Fireworks can be very dangerous if they aren’t handled properly. Thus turning a weekend of fun into a possible disaster. If you are planning to use fireworks, keep the following safety tips in mind:
Use fireworks outdoors only.
Obey local laws – if fireworks are illegal where you live, do not use them.
Always have water close by – a garden hose, bucket of water, etc.
Use fireworks only as intended – don’t try to alter them or combine them in any way.
Never attempt to relight a “dud” firework – wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
Use common sense – Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter, and safety glasses are highly recommended for anyone lighting fireworks. Fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks and someone, even if done in jest.
Keep your pets or other animals in mind – animals have sensitive ears and the noise and lights of fireworks can often frighten or stress animals. Keep them inside if possible. Also pick up any remaining debris at the conclusion of your fireworks.
Alcohol and fireworks do NOT mix – have a designated “shooter.”
Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type – When lit, sparklers can get six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil, or 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use in a clear, open area and make sure the area overhead is also clear of obstructions – Watch out for dry grass, brush or any other type of flammable items that could catch fire, like your home or garage.
Fireworks by the numbers:
- 30,100 – estimated number of fires caused by fireworks each year
- 7,000 – estimated number of injuries caused by fireworks each year
- $34 million – amount of direct property loss caused by fireworks each year
Sources: National Fire Protection Association, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and National Council on Fireworks Safety.