They are loud, bright and potentially dangerous but let’s face it – many people love fireworks! Whether it’s a professional display put on by your city or some smaller sparklers set off in someone’s backyard, fireworks are a huge part of the celebration of summer. For this reason, it’s great that June is Fireworks Safety Month so that, early in the season, people can become familiar with the guidelines for having fun while staying safe.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that, on average, 240 people end up in the emergency room every single day in the month surrounding the Fourth of July. The most common complaints are burns and eye injuries and, sometimes, the injury can be fatal. Following the recommended safety tips can often prevent these unfortunately situations from occurring:
Before purchasing fireworks, double check that it is legal to have them in your area. If they are, avoid buying any that are packaged in brown paper. These types of fireworks are typically meant for professional displays and may be inappropriate for use by the average consumer.
An adult should always be present if children are around fireworks. This includes sparklers. While they may seem harmless, sparklers actually burn at about 2,000 degrees and could melt some metals. Every year, young children are injured while playing with them. It’s best to limit children’s contact with and never allow them to ignite fireworks.
When it comes to handling fireworks, there are things that you definitely must avoid. Never carry them in a pocket and never place any part of your body over a device when lighting the fuse. Light one firework at a time and then back up to a safe distance immediately. If the firework doesn’t work, never try to re-light or pick up a firework that failed to fully ignite. Do not set them off in a metal or glass container and never point or throw fireworks at another person.
It is best to be prepared for any mishaps that may occur while using fireworks. Keep a first-aid kit nearby in case of injury. Have a garden hose or bucket of water within reach in case you need to deal with an unexpected fire. When you are finished burning your fireworks, douse them with plenty of water before throwing them away to prevent a trash fire.
Even if fireworks are legal in your area, stay informed about any other restrictions your city may be imposing. For example, if you have been experiencing a drought, it’s not uncommon for local officials to ban fires or limit water consumption. Both of these temporary changes would mean that you should postpone using fireworks until these bans have been lifted.
There’s no reason that you cannot enjoy fireworks during your summer celebrations but following guidelines and safety measures can help keep everyone safe.