Happy 4th of July! I looked forward to this day as a youth, watching various fireworks displays. Today, I hope to give you some tips about being safe with fireworks tonight. Much of this information comes from Extension resources around the country.First and foremost, research fireworks regulations. Towns and cities may have additional regulations that go beyond state regulations, so do your homework and stay informed.
Fireworks can cause injuries. Despite being a widely enjoyed pastime— especially around the 4th of July — fireworks cause thousands of serious injuries each year. Firecrackers and sparklers cause most of the reported injuries, together accounting for nearly 40%. Reloadable shells, commonly known as mortars, contribute another nine percent. Bottle rockets, roman candles, multiple tubes, fountains, and unspecified categories cause the balance of related injuries. The most common injuries are to the hands and head, with over half of those being burns.While no age group is immune, 35% of fireworks-related injuries are suffered by children under the age of 14 — nine percent of whom are under 4 years old. Fifteen to 18 year-olds represent another 12%. Twenty-five to 44 year old adults account for 34% of injuries, contradicting the belief that people get smarter and more careful with age.
Keep safety your priority. If the statistics don’t prompt you to change your mind, and you’ve determined you can put on a satisfying and lawful display, there are some important safety tips you should know:Don’t combine alcohol and fireworks. Hold off on imbibing until after you finish the show.
Never allow children to play with fireworks.
Carefully read the cautionary labels and directions on the package before igniting.Wear safety glasses. It only takes a second to put them on, and they will help ensure you will be able to see great fireworks displays for many years to come.
Only light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. Make sure others watching are a safe distance away from the launch area. Choose a clear area outdoors away from trees, buildings and cars.Never relight a “dud” firework that doesn’t go off as it should the first time. Wait 20 minutes and soak it in a bucket of water, which should be kept close-by along with a charged hose just in case. The after the show, dispose of any spent fireworks by wetting them down and putting them into a metal trash can until you can dispose of them. Place the can away from any buildings or combustible materials.
For more information on firework safety, National Council on Fireworks Safety is another great resource.