We’re coming up on a fun holiday weekend and it wouldn’t feel like Independence Day without a few loud, colorful fireworks. If you’re planning on firing them at home, know this: Fireworks can be dangerous.
Every year parents and children alike look forward to lighting fireworks and enjoying the fun colored sparks and sounds. Sparklers in particular are a favorite. Did you know that sparklers burn at 2000 degrees? That’s hot enough to melt some metals. Stepping on a discarded sparkler while barefoot can cause significant burns. A good first rule for fireworks safety, always wear shoes!
Here are additional tips for having a safe fireworks display
Fireworks are not toys so only adults should handle them. Most fireworks injuries happen to children. Having an adult present is an important part of making sure everyone stays safe, even with teenagers. When children are around, always designate an adult to watch the kids, to be sure they don’t wander near the lighting of devices.
Be sure to have water and a fire extinguisher close by. Fireworks have a tendency to shower sparks all over and the slightest breeze can carry an ember. You can assure that the flame is completely out by dousing the exploded device in water. Fireworks were the cause of an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018 which included structural damage and vehicle fires.
Always be aware of who is lighting a device, which way the device is pointed, and that no other bystanders are close enough to be hit with sparks. Light the device on a flat surface to prevent falling over and be sure that the area is clear of brush or debris that could be accidentally ignited by sparks. Once the device is lit, stay back at least 12 feet or more.
Many local laws take into account the amount and range of sparks produced to help ensure that people and property can be protected. Always follow the laws and only purchase fireworks that are compliant with the laws in your area. Never buy or set off fireworks in brown paper. These are made for professional displays only.
Don’t experiment with the devices by lighting them in cans or twisting them together. Most of the injuries from fireworks happen because they were used in a way they were not designed for. In 2018 there were 9 deaths and 9100 injuries from fireworks in the United States.
If a firework doesn’t go off or fizzles out, do not attempt to re-ignite it. Instead, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then douse it with water before disposing. The same goes for spent fireworks. Allow time for cooling then douse them with water.
Don’t store any leftover fireworks beyond the few days of the July 4th holiday. They can become unstable over time, making them a fire hazard when stored and an even bigger safety threat when used the following year.
Also, remember your pets. Many animals are frightened by the sound of fireworks. They become anxious and run off out of fear. Keep your pets in the house in an area that is relatively quiet for the duration of the celebration outside.
Over the years, people have become more aware of the hazards associated with fireworks and rules for setting them off have become more stringent. Still, each year there are reports of serious injuries and deaths due to the use, or misuse, of fireworks. By following the tips above, you’ll be able to enjoy the dazzling displays while remaining safe.