This weekend, as I gear up for Fourth of July festivities, I remind myself just how important it is to celebrate safely. While fireworks are a staple of July 4 celebrations and are spectacular to look at with your loved ones, they need to be handled properly to avoid injury.
It’s patriotic to follow the law
First and foremost, check your local and state laws regarding fireworks before you handle them. Many municipalities ban fireworks. Safety begins and ends with obeying all laws. A permit is required for public display fireworks, and firework shows should only be handled by professionals. Contact your local law enforcement agency if you have questions regarding which types of fireworks are legal.
Have a blast, but use caution
Always remember that fireworks are not toys and are to be used with caution.
Many people (especially children and teens) are injured while playing with fireworks. Fireworks start an average of more than 18,000 fires per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In 2016, over 11,000 people had injuries related to fireworks. Burns to the hands, face, and head were the most common types of injuries, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Tips for a sparkling good time
Follow these safety guidelines to help avoid injury if you decide to personally handle fireworks:
- Buy only State Fire Marshal-approved fireworks. (These will have the State Fire Marshal seal on the packaging.)
- Never allow small children to play with and ignite fireworks.
- Never use fireworks near dry grass or flammable materials.
- Don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks that haven’t ignited fully.
- Keep a safe distance and light one firework at a time.
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Never point or throw fireworks at other people.
- Have a bucket of water and a hose handy in case of a fire.
- After a firework completes burning, douse the device with water.
I plan to focus all my efforts on grilling the best food I can for my family and friends this year. When the sun sets, I will be admiring the beautiful fireworks display … from a distance.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone!