Celebrate Fireworks with Safety in Mind
It’s summertime — time for picnics, ball games, parades, family reunions, barbeques and fireworks!
In the United States, 47 states plus the District of Columbia legally allow some kind of fireworks. For many families, fireworks will be part of their summer celebrations.
Interestingly, all major safety organizations, including American Academy of Pediatrics, National Safety Council, and SafeKids, recommend that families leave fireworks to professionals and attend safety certified fireworks displays rather than purchasing commercial fireworks for their own use.
Fireworks injure more than 5,000 people each year and 30 percent of those injured are children.
Review the Rules
With that said, we realize that many families will still enjoy celebrations with their own fireworks. If your family is in this category, please take a few minutes to review some safety rules and tips that could make the difference between a safe celebration and one that ends in injury.
Purchase only legal fireworks. Those that are labeled with the manufacturer’s name and that include safety precautions. Illegal fireworks are very dangerous. Never take apart legal fireworks and combine ingredients to create your own.
Check city and state laws for fireworks. Most cities do not allow fireworks in city limits if they have projectiles or launching components, or if they have an audible report Remember, alcohol and fireworks do not mix. People under the influence of alcohol or any mood altering substance often make dangerous choices.
Young children should not handle fireworks. This includes the ever popular sparklers. Most parents don’t realize that a sparkler can reach a temperature of 1200-2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Young children have short arms, bringing these red-hot pieces of metal dangerously close to little bodies. Letting little ones wave glow sticks is a much safer alternative; just remember that the chemicals inside glow sticks are toxic.
Older children must be closely supervised when using fireworks.
More Safety Tips
- Anyone using fireworks should avoid loose, flowing clothing and should keep long hair tied back.
- Everyone should wear eye protection. Lightweight safety goggles are inexpensive and can prevent a life-changing eye injury.
- Always wear shoes to avoid stepping on a leftover firework that is still hot.
- Choose a safe place to shoot your fireworks: light them on cement, sand, gravel or another non-flammable surface. Be sure there is no possibility that your fireworks will land in a flammable area such as dry grass or trees or inside a building.
- Keep fire-extinguishing equipment nearby, such as buckets of water, sand, a fire extinguisher or a hose.
- When lighting fireworks, keep your face turned away from the fuse.
- Never hold or throw fireworks.
- Never light fireworks inside glass or metal containers.
- Take turns lighting fireworks and be aware of where other people are standing.
- If your firework doesn’t go off, never try to relight it; douse it with water instead
After the Fun
When your celebration is over, carefully collect the spent fireworks and put them in a bucket of water. Drain the next day and put in the trash. Don’t risk a garage fire by putting them directly in the garbage can. A smoldering piece of firework debris can come in contact with oxygen and ignite.
Last but not least, pick up after yourself. Whether you are on your own property, or you use a public area or a gravel road for your fireworks, collect the paper and other garbage and dispose of it properly. Don’t leave it for your neighbor to pick up.
Here’s wishing you a fun, happy, and SAFE summer!