Fireworks are a mesmerizing sight in the night sky and twirling sparklers is a highlight for most kids. The booms, colors and explosion of fireworks are synonymous with summer fun, freedom and celebration.
But, while these pyrotechnics are designed to delight, they can be very dangerous when handled improperly or when safety precautions are ignored. Each July 4th, fireworks harm thousands of people—mostly children and teenagers—and an estimated 18,500 annually reported fires in the U.S. are the result of fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission.
To make sure your next fireworks display or experience is a safe one, keep in mind the following safety tips.
Firework safety tips
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), it is imperative that people who plan to use fireworks first understand what is legally allowed in their state since the rules differ from state to state, and to remember that even if a firework is legal, it doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful.
The APA and the National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) urge people to review all instructions before setting off any fireworks and to make sure to purchase fireworks from a reputable, licensed fireworks dealer.
Never operate fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, always wear safety glasses when lighting fireworks and only light one firework at a time, stresses the APA and NCFS. They also recommend people keep a bucket of water or water source on hand.
Fireworks should only be ignited away from buildings and cars in an open space, and the organizations also advise against re-lighting a “dud” firework and instruct people to instead “wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before you discard it.” In fact, all fireworks should be cooled off in a bucket of water before being disposed in a trash can constructed of metal located far away from any flammable materials.
Fireworks are not a viable DIY project. The organizations stress against the use or experimentation of homemade fireworks or the tweaking of purchased fireworks.
Firework safety tips for children
Children should not touch any fireworks, according to the APA and NCFS, and an adult should supervise any and all handling of fireworks.
According to SafeKids WorldwideTM, sparklers are dangerous and should not be controlled by little arms since they can heat up to 1,200 degrees. Children should be supervised at all times whenever fireworks are present.
The experts at SafeKids Worldwide advise families to attend public firework shows instead of participating in the risky activity of setting fireworks off at home.
Head to the doctor or emergency room immediately if a child is injured by a firework, advises the experts at SafeKids Worldwide, and to prevent an eye injury from getting worse, parents should remind their child not to touch it.
Firework safety tips for pets
It’s best to leave the furry members of the family at home if you plan to attend a fireworks display, according to the NCFS; if you have fireworks at home or fireworks will be set off near your home, secure Fido or Fifi in an interior room of the house to help minimize sound from the fireworks.
Fireworks are an incredible sight to see and hear, but they must be handled and approached with caution.