Independence Day is a great time of year for celebrations but every year. thousands of people are injured in fireworks accidents, including fires, burns and eye injuries. The National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association recommend people avoid using consumer fireworks, but if you decide to go in this direction, please make sure to do so in a safe and friendly manner. We’re not fireworks experts, but are always concerned about your safety. The following tips may help prevent firework accidents and ensure the safety of all participants.
Make Sure only Adults are Managing Them
It goes without saying but is worth reminding: it is important that fireworks are only being handled by adults and those who can manage the associated risks of these fun products. Where there are some smaller fireworks that are safe for use in family settings, it is important that all fireworks are handled in an appropriate manner by the appropriate person. If you have kids this holiday, be proactive in having conversations with them about why they shouldn’t be handling these potentially dangerous but fun-looking items. Instead of just seeming like you are policing fun, having an up-front conversation with minors about firework dangers can show them the seriousness of fireworks without taking away the excitement of using these items as a family.
Even sparklers, which seem pretty harmless, burn at 1,200 degrees. Be sure your children don’t touch them after they have burned down. They remain extremely hot for some time.
Do Not Mix Fireworks & Depressants
Depressants such as alcohol can delay reaction times and inhibitions, limiting awareness and response time in potentially dangerous situations. Lowered inhibitions mixed with volatile objects is a combination primed for a scary end to a celebration. For obvious reasons fireworks can pose a safety hazard; the last thing you would ever want is an issue stemming from an intoxicated adult misusing a potentially dangerous item and hurting a yourself or a loved-one. Make sure whoever is handling your family firework display is sober and able to make prompt decisions regarding the safety of fireworks.
Pay Attention to Warning Labels
All fireworks come with warning labels. Some of these might be more general, but others detail specific usage requirements for their products. Pay careful attention to all instructions when preparing to use fireworks around your loved ones and friends. They can include anything from the placement of the fireworks to lighting instructions to timing. If a firework seems delayed in its lighting or does not seem to be working, instructions could provide more information on how to safely deal with the product. Keep all of your instructions until you’ve disposed of the firework in case any questions arise (including how to dispose of the product safely).
Watch out for Weather & Area Concerns
It has been a wet summer across the entire country, but there are many conditions where cities might issue firework warnings. Improperly-used fireworks present hazards, not just to individuals but to an entire community when used improperly. When lighting off fireworks, obey all laws about potential use. Avoid accidents or potentially dangerous situations by ensuring that you are only lighting fireworks during the appropriate times and places. Make sure to remain clear of dry areas and always provide yourself enough room to light the firework, watching out for items such as trees, overhanging architecture or power lines.
Know your Local Laws
Fireworks are illegal in many places throughout the state. By paying attention to your surroundings and obeying all warnings and city policies, it can not only keep you from a run-in with the law but also prevent accidents and serious fires from happening, something our community certainly doesn’t need right now.
Avoid More Aggressive Fireworks
Fireworks packaged in brown paper are much more dangerous and are meant to be handled by professionals only. In addition, M-Class Fireworks (M-80’s or M-100’s) are not only very dangerous, but they are also illegal. Call your local non-emergency police hotline if you see or hear these explosives (you’ll know them if you see them).
Much like handling a loaded gun, fireworks require awareness. Remember, they are explosives and should be treated as such.
Know Where Your Pets Are
Pets have a particularly hard time this time of year, with unpredictable loud noises. A scared, erratic pet can be particularly alluring to a child and could even put itself and our young ones in danger- running into the street, running near a firework, etc. Make sure your pets stay inside and you know where they are this holiday.
There is nothing better than a great firework display in the summer to celebrate Independence Day. Following these helpful tips are only a few of the steps that you can take to ensure that your firework shows are fun and safe for your family, your neighbors, and the environment. The best way to prevent firework injuries is with proactive preparation in launching fireworks and clear understanding and communication with all participants about the lighting process. Thank you for making it a safe 4th of July.