With the national fireworks holiday here, it’s a good time to review safety guidelines that will keep everyone safe and enjoying the show.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
1. Keep water nearby
When you light fireworks, you are literally playing with fire. Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a working hose within easy reach just in case your clothes, the pile of dry leaves you didn’t notice, or any other flammable object gets one too many sparks.
2. Don’t let children use fireworks unattended
Children and fireworks are both miniature explosives, so putting them together is a bad idea. Even seemingly harmless sparklers can burn tiny hands and arms. If it’s hot enough to melt metal, it’s hot enough to burn your child.
3. Designate an official lighter
Choose one responsible adult to light the fuses. You avoid potential accidents with only one person in charge.
It should go without saying, but the designated lighter should not be under the influence. Alcohol, fire, and explosions are not a good mix.
4. If it’s a dud, it’s still dangerous
A dud can still explode even after it appears to have gone out. Your best bet is to soak it with water and leave it alone for at least 20 minutes.
In the case of bottle rockets that don’t ignite, DO NOT look into the opening. People have reportedly died from fireworks to the eye while making that exact move.
5. Fireworks are not throwing toys
It sounds like a story that starts with “Hold my beer and watch this,” but every year there are stories of injuries caused by people throwing fireworks.
Would you want someone throwing a lit cherry bomb at you? No, so don’t play around, even in a joking manner, with any fireworks.
6. Keep a safe space
What kind of fireworks you are using will determine how far is a safe distance for onlookers. In most cases, a distance of about 20 feet will work, but practice good judgment. Larger explosions require more distance.
7. Wear safety glasses
Safety glasses can save your eyes when sparks shoot around and jumping jacks fly into the air.
While it might not be possible for everyone to have safety glasses, the lighter should definitely have them.
8. Obey the law
Another somewhat self-explanatory tip, but obey the local laws when using fireworks. It is easy for stray fireworks to end up on a neighbor’s roof or to hit a passing car.
Check your local ordinances to find out what rules your town or city has for personal fireworks.
9. Listen to fire safety reports
If there’s a drought, it’s not a good idea to blast off fireworks. Dry leaves, trees, and grass can easily ignite if a spark from a firework lands in the right place. If those dry leaves are on the roof of your house or a neighbor’s house, you could have a fireworks display that will ruin your day.
If your local fire department prohibits fireworks until after a good rain, listen to them.
10. Only buy legal fireworks
Don’t buy explosives from an unknown vendor.
Legal consumer fireworks will have labels and instructions on them. If they don’t, then they are either for professionals or manufactured illegally. In either case, those aren’t the fireworks you want to set off around your friends and family.