Summer brings all types of outdoor festivities including local celebrations, cookouts, parades, and fireworks. It just wouldn’t feel like summer without those beautiful, colorful, and sometimes loud fireworks displays. Fireworks can be used safely, but it is smart to educate yourself about risks and prevention measures..
In 2017, there were 12,900 injuries and eight deaths from fireworks-related incidents, with more than 36 percent of injuries involving children younger than 15 years old, according to figures from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Additionally, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires and 300 vehicle fires with an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
Fireworks Safety Measures
- Never buy or use illegal fireworks. Make sure all of your fireworks are legal, and that you purchase through a licensed business. Look at the fireworks label for information on the brand, correct usage, and potential hazards.
- Never let children ignite or handle fireworks. Sparklers, rockets, and firecrackers burn at temperatures reaching up to 1,800°F — enough to cause third-degree burns. If you are a looking for a safe alternative, try glow sticks.
- Be attentive and aware. Don’t mix alcohol and setting off fireworks. Never point a firework at another person, don’t light fireworks indoors, and never ignite or aim fireworks at structures, leaves, brush, or flammable substances.
- Never reignite a firework. Don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks if it does not fully ignite.
- Be at the ready. Always have a bucket of water, a hose, or an extinguisher nearby. In case of emergency, make sure you know how to operate your fire extinguisher.
- Keep your pets safe. Animal control officials across the nation report a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4-6. Make sure you secure your pets in an area that they cannot escape and run away.
- Proper disposal. To dispose of your fireworks, once they can be safely handled, submerge the fireworks in a bucket of water and soak overnight. After soaking, fireworks can be placed in your household garbage cans the next day.
- Know your local regulations. Understand and abide by all of your local fireworks rules and regulations.
There are numerous resources for firework safety. For more information, consult your local fire department, the National Council on Fireworks Safety, or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Be safe and enjoy your summer!