As the 4th of July celebrations approach, it is a good time to consider fireworks and firework safety. Fireworks are so exciting and beautifully mesmerizing it is very easy to forget how dangerous they can be to adults and especially children. Here are a few firework safety tips to help keep you and your family safe during the upcoming celebrations.
Consider attending public fireworks displays. The safest way for you and your family to enjoy fireworks is by attending a local public firework display, staged by professionals.
Use only legal fireworks. If you choose to use your own fireworks, purchase and use only legal consumers fireworks. These fireworks have to be tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and meet requirements regarding composition, pyrotechnics and stability of the components under heat and exposure. Making your own fireworks is both unwise and illegal.
Even “safe” fireworks like sparklers require supervision. Considered the “safest” of consumer fireworks, sparklers cause more than 50% of firework injuries in children. Children do not understand that after the sparkler stops “sparkling” the burnt wire core remains dangerously hot. Sparklers burn at temperatures above 1800 degrees F and will easily cause severe skin burns or set clothing on fire. Children too young to understand the dangers should not be allowed to handle lit sparklers unsupervised.
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. It is not safe to use fireworks when you are under the influence. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgement and reflexes and you may take unsafe risks that may cost you a finger, eye or much worse.
Storing fireworks. Keep the unused fireworks in a safe, dry location away from those that you are lighting. And keep them locked up or at least under supervision.
Duds. Relighting dud fireworks is extremely dangerous. If you feel that you must relight a firework that has failed, wait for 15-20 minutes. A safer alternative is to wait 15-20 minutes and then soak the dud thoroughly in a bucket of water and dispose of it safely later.
Avoid the most dangerous (and often illegal) fireworks. Serious fireworks injuries including lost fingers and eyes, severe burns, and even deafness are most often caused by the most powerful explosive fireworks like M-80s, cherry bombs, and ash cans. Bottle rockets also present many dangers if the rocket explodes in the bottle, travels where you least expect it to or explodes when you foolishly try to launch it from your hand. Bottle rockets cause countless emergency room visits and often result in eye injuries. Follow these firework safety tips and enjoy a safe, fun and happy 4th of July!