Fireworks Safety



With warm weather and family events, the Fourth of July can be a fun time with great memories. But before your family celebrates, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.


    •    Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them. Lighting fireworks at home isn’t even legal in many areas, so if you still want to use them, be sure to check with your local police department first. If they’re legal where you live, keep these safety tips in mind:

    •    Use fireworks outdoors only.

    •    Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).

    •    Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.

    •    Never 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 the shooter should wear safety glasses.

    •    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.

    •    Never try to make your own fireworks and do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

    •    Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. Kids should never play with fireworks. Things like firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers are just too dangerous. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius) – hot enough to melt gold.

    •    Buy only legal fireworks (legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled), and store them in a cool, dry place. Illegal fireworks usually go by the names M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarterpounder. These explosives were banned in 1966, but still account for many fireworks injuries.

    •    Steer clear of others – fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.

    •    Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear some sort of eye protection, and avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket – the friction could set them off.

    •    Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.

    •    Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.

    •    Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.

    •    Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.

    •    Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

    •    If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don’t flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention – your child’s eyesight may depend on it. If it’s a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your doctor immediately.

    •    Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you’ll enjoy them much more knowing your family is safe. Take extra precautions this Fourth of July and your holiday will be a blast!


Thanks to Steven Dowshen andThe National Council on Fireworks Safety



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