Soon Americans’ hearts will swell with pride to celebrate July 4th. Fireworks are synonymous with the celebration of Independence Day and while these pyrotechnics can be beautiful displays of festivities, they are also extremely dangerous if not handled properly.
Fireworks cause an average of 20,000 reported fires per year. Additionally, 240 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding the holiday. Sparklers seem simple and harmless without the expected crackle and boom that come with most fireworks, but the flame burns at approximately 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt certain metals. In 2013, sparklers caused 41% of fireworks injuries.
Consumer fireworks are illegal in many areas so it’s best to check with your local police department before purchasing or using any this holiday. The safest option is to attend public displays that are put on by professionals.
Make sure you obey all local laws and read cautionary labels when it comes to fireworks. Here are a few tips if you decide to legally put on your own show.
- Legal consumer fireworks always come with a label, manufacturer’s name, warnings, and usage directions. Illegal ones are usually unlabeled and come in a brown paper bag.
- Never allow young children to play with fireworks.
- Keep your pets in mind; animals have sensitive hearing and the loud noise may stress them out.
- Always wear eye protection.
- Don’t hold them in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting.
- Only light one firework at a time and never relight a dud.
- Always use outside and point them away from people, homes, brush, leaves, and other flammable substances.
- Move away to a safe distance immediately after lighting one.
- Keep a bucket of water and hose nearby in case of an accident.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away to prevent a fire.