Fireworks are a staple for Fourth of July celebrations in the U.S. However, the thrill of fireworks can be dangerous. On average, 230 people visit the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks around July 4th. Most of these injuries are to the hands and fingers. Fireworks can also cause serious injuries to your eyes. Typical fireworks injuries can be caused by firecrackers, bottle rockets sparklers and more.
Here are some Fourth of July safety tips that are useful for everyone:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. If older children are playing with fireworks, always have adult supervision.
- If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach upwards of 1,800° F – hot enough to melt metal!
- Keep children at a safe distance when attending a professional fireworks show, but use this tip even more so when they are around backyard shows.
- If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
- The safest place for your pet is inside your home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar park or a noisy backyard.
- Provide a safe spot from loud noises. Preferably an area that is escape-proof, as animal control officers note a steep increase in lost pets this time of the year.
- Have your pet properly identified. This include an up-to-date identification tag, microchip, and picture.
- Keep emergency contact information handy in the event that your pet is injured.
At Professional Displays
- ALWAYS mind any barriers, signs, or warnings stating to remain out of certain areas, you may be setting up camp in a fallout area where debris may land.
- If there are some debris that finds its way to spectator areas, do not touch it. The debris could still be hot or “active.”
General Safety Tips
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Wait 20 minutes then place them in a bucket of water.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose (or fire extinguisher, if trained) handy in case of fire.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or CE Marked (EN 15947).
- Ensure spectators are kept at a safe distance from where the fireworks are being set off.
- Alcohol and fireworks never mix.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and other flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse it with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
Given the risks involved with consumer fireworks, you might want to simply be a spectator this Fourth of July; kick back, and let the professionals handle the thrilling experience. Either way, stay safe this weekend!
For even more information about fireworks safety, visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety website.