Fourth of July: Getting on the Fireworks Safety Soapbox

So, this is going to sound like a weird one – but bear with me, it’s important.

With the Fourth of July coming up, a lot of us are excited to see streets lined with red, white and blue, and are looking forward to barbeques and a day by the pool or at the beach. Inevitably, you and/or your families are already getting excited about fireworks.

Whether it’s fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers, or something of the like, while they are beautiful to behold, they come with a tremendous risk of injury. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires in the U.S., including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.
  • According to the CPSC, more than one-third (35%) of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20-July 20, 2014 were under 15; nine percent were under five.
  • CPSC data show that sparklers alone accounted for more than one one-quarter (28%) of the emergency room fireworks injuries seen from June 20-July 20, 2014.

Yeah, doesn’t sound pleasant to me, either.

With that in mind, here are some safety tips from FireworksSafety.org for the upcoming holiday if the handling of fireworks absolutely cannot be avoided:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

So please use your best judgment this Independence Day, be safe and enjoy the show!