Fireworks are a tradition during the 4th of July in the U.S. In some states, it is legal to purchase and use most fireworks and in other states, the use of non-explosive fireworks like sparklers is permitted. Therefore, it is important to act responsibly around all types of fireworks to avoid injuries and accidents. Also make sure to check if any of the fireworks you purchased have been recalled.
For example, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission held a fireworks safety press conference on Wednesday following the recall of more than 38,000 fireworks sold in Michigan, Illinois, and Pennsylvania stores, according to an article in USA Today. It is also important to remember that fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, with the National Safety Council (NSC) citing “1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires”.
The Commission’s Fireworks Annual Report states there were at least five people killed in fireworks-related incidents in 2018 and 9,100 injuries that required treatment in hospital emergency departments. Of these 2018 fireworks injuries, 62% were recorded between June 22, and July 22. For children under 5, sparklers caused more than half of reported injuries
The NSC advises only enjoying fireworks if they are set off by professionals and supervised by fire departments. In the event that you plan to use your own fireworks, never use fireworks that are intended for professionals!
Whether your state allows the use of explosive or airborne fireworks, or only small novelties- such as fountains and sparklers, which are also called “safe and sane” fireworks, it is important to be aware of the ways you can keep you and others around you safe.
Always set up fireworks responsibly according to the directions on their packaging, and set them up facing away from people. Never set up fireworks while drinking or under the influence of drugs. You can also consider hiring a professional to give fireworks presentations at your home, but be sure to file the appropriate permits required by your city, and be prepared to file any fire department fees.
When it comes to any types of fireworks, even tiny “poppers” that are small explosives that explode when thrown on the ground, store them off of your body, not in your pockets. Store fireworks in a safe spot, away from any high temperatures or pressures, and never tamper with the ingredients of a firework, as this could lead to explosions that are different than expected.
Fireworks safety tips for July 4th
The following are fireworks safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Before buying or using fireworks, ensure consumer fireworks are legal in your area;
- Never use or make professional-grade fireworks;
- Do not buy or use fireworks that are packaged in brown paper; this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and are not for consumer use;
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers, which burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit;
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks;
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person or an occupied area;
- Light fireworks one at a time, and move away from them quickly after lighting them;
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of a fire;
- Never relight or handle fireworks that are malfunctioning. Soak them with water and throw them away;
- Put water on fireworks once they are done burning using a bucket or hose before discarding them. This can help prevent a trash fire.
Stay safe and have a happy 4th of July!