Every year, about 10,000 people are treated for injuries in hospital emergency departments due to the mishandling of live, misfired and waste consumer fireworks (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2019). In addition, fires resulting from fireworks cause over $100 million in direct property damage (National Fire Protection Association).
The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to not use them; enjoy them at a public fireworks display put on by professionals instead.
If you decide to shoot fireworks yourself, here are some tips from the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) and other agencies to avoid injury:
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- Detonate devices at least 200 feet away from structures, vehicles and rubbish
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks
- Never allow children to light fireworks
- Never operate fireworks while impaired
- Light devices one at a time and watch for embers with a bucket of water or hose nearby
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before disposing of it.
- Discard spent fireworks by wetting them down to prevent reignition; place them in a metal trash can away from any building and wait a day to put them in a trash container.
The SFM also advises families to purchase fireworks from stands that have been permitted by their office.
Remember, fireworks are dangerous to people and pets. Consider that hand-held sparklers burn at 1,200º F, and wood ignites at 356º F and burns at 575º F. The National Fire Protection Association has put together some great ideas for alternatives to fireworks when celebrating this Fourth of July; download the PDF here..