Hotdogs and hamburgers, Stars and Stripes, the 4th of July and fireworks – One isn’t quite complete without the other, right? We get it, fireworks are a dazzling sight to behold and (in our opinion) an absolute must for the 4th of July. However, before we wish you a Happy Independence Day, we would be remiss if we did not touch on the dangers of fireworks when poorly handled.
Below we listed a few tried and true best safety practices for using and storing fireworks safely. We also noted steps to take in the unfortunate event an emergency does occur.
The June 2020 Annual Fireworks Report, by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), reported roughly 15,600 people injured by a total of 18 deaths related to consumer managed firework displays. This number doesn’t include the events that were handled by professionals, we’re only talking backyard BBQ fireworks courtesy of three-fingered Uncle Dave. Fireworks safety is no joke and should be approached with care.
How to use Fireworks Safely
- Always read instructions thoroughly before the big show and adhere to all instructions.
- Do not operate fireworks under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
- Ensure you have adequate outdoor space with plenty of clear open skies. Also keep away from people, buildings, and objects.
- Avoid flammable objects and materials such as lighter fluid from the BBQ or dried leaves and grass.
- Keep children at a safe distance from the blastoff area.
- If children are handling sparklers, use hand protection covers and don’t let them run with the sparklers. Sparklers account for more than 25% of firework-related injuries from burns to foot punctures!
- Keep pets at a safe distance, preferably indoors in a quiet room.
- If a firework fails to ignite fully, do not attempt to relight it. Some have a delayed response, and this can put you right in the firing line of danger.
- Wait for used fireworks to cool down completely before discarding them.
- Have a fire extinguisher or a garden hose nearby in the event of an emergency, such as an accidental fire.
- If winds are significant, postpone your firework celebrations for another day.
- Never carry fireworks in your pockets or in plastic, metal, or glass vessels.
- Do not hold or carry lit fireworks and never throw fireworks at another person or animal.
- It is suggested you wear safety goggles when lighting fireworks.
- Never position your body so you are not hovering directly above the firework while lighting it.
- Light fireworks one at a time and take your time. The desire to make a “Big finish” could result in a bad ending to a great day.
How to Store Fireworks Properly
The ideal place to safely store unused fireworks according to fire departments, is NOT to store them. If you decide you must keep them in a safe and dry location. Do not store near open flames such as hot water heaters or furnaces and preferably not where small children could reach and play with. Also, depending on local ordinances, it may be illegal to store the fireworks, so we suggest calling your local police or fire department for clarification.
If an Emergency occurs this Independence Day
Protect your family. Get all members to a safe location and then call for emergency services. If it is safe, attempt to put out small fires with your fire extinguisher or the garden hose, but only after the protection and safety of the family has been considered.
Call your local Restoration Operators immediately to board-up and address any home or property repairs sustained during the incident.
Wishing you a joyous and safe 4th of July!