Fireworks are a fantastic way to add some real sparkle to your Fourth of July celebration, but these vibrant blasts of explosive color definitely require proper handling. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, there were more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2014. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent injuries from ruining your Independence Day fun. To keep your firework display safe and enjoyable, make these smart choices.
Choose the Right Fireworks
With stands that sell them popping up on every corner, fireworks of all kinds are readily available. Make sure that you purchase your fireworks from an authorized dealer. While any firework has the potential to be dangerous, illegal and homemade fireworks pose a real threat to life and property. Roughly 40 percent of firework injuries are due to illegal fireworks.
Choose the Right Person
Watching fireworks is fun, but handling them is serious business. Make sure the person in charge of your firework display is up to the responsibility. Select an adult who will take their job seriously. Do not allow kids to play with any fireworks or firework debris.
Choose the Right Location
Fireworks need plenty of room. Read the directions on your fireworks so that you’ll know what to expect, and then plan accordingly. Choose an outdoor area that’s free of debris and objects that would be likely to catch fire, including homes, vehicles, children’s play structures and vegetation. Designate separate spaces for your fireworks and your audience. Make sure both groups have plenty of elbow room and that there is a sufficient distance between them.
Choose the Right Technique
When handling fireworks, pay attention to your technique. Always treat fireworks with respect and remember that they can ignite unexpectedly if exposed to friction or a spark. Light one at a time and don’t attempt to relight a firework that fails to go off. Stay alert whenever fireworks are present and maintain a safe distance from any lit fireworks. Never carry fireworks in your pocket or aim them at another person. Never place your hand or any other body part over the firework.
Choose the Right Precautions
Accidents can happen to even the most cautious of people. When handling fireworks, it pays to be ready before things go wrong. Keep a working garden hose and buckets of water nearby whenever you are lighting fireworks. Always have a phone ready to call for professional help if you need it.
Choose the Right Cleanup Method
Fireworks have the potential to go off when you least expect it, so any duds or debris must be handled with care. Never allow children or animals to explore anything left behind by your firework display. Wait at least 20 minutes to limit the possibility of additional detonations. Then soak any debris thoroughly before gathering it up and disposing of it in a covered trashcan that is placed outdoors and away from anything flammable.
Celebrating July Fourth with fireworks is a longstanding tradition that dates back to 1777. If you elect to continue this thrilling custom with your own personal fireworks show, make the right choices so that you can stay safe, avoid injury and enjoy the fun.