Six Important Firework Safety Tips
On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the traditions we have built, traditions around cookouts and family and swimming pools. But, perhaps the most recognized tradition for Independence Day is the sight of fireworks exploding across the night sky.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spent approximately $755 million on fireworks last year for Fourth of July festivities, and that number is expected to rise by as much as another $50 million. With all those fireworks going off, it’s important to remember key safety tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday.
Use caution and supervise minors around fireworks.
Fireworks on the Fourth of July are a great way to bring families together; however, in the hands of unsupervised children, even sparklers can turn into a disaster. Sparklers can reach temperatures over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to serious burns or fires. Do not allow young children to play with fireworks or sparklers, and make sure children are at a safe distance from any pyrotechnics display. For teens, make sure there is an adult supervising any use of sparklers or fireworks and have safety measures in place in case of an emergency. If you aren’t sure if a firework is appropriate for your children, check the packaging of your fireworks to see what age group is appropriate.
Check your fireworks’ packaging.
Fireworks that have brown paper around the casing are used only for professional displays, meaning they have the potential to exceed M-80, M-100, and M-250 level explosions. In other words, they can explode up to four times stronger than you average retail firework, making them extremely dangerous. In addition, these fireworks usually have shorter fuses, making them explode faster as well. If you aren’t sure if your firework is for professional use or not, don’t set them off. Make sure whatever fireworks you do use are labeled with the manufacturer’s name. Never buy an unlabeled pyrotechnic.
Back away after lighting the fuse.
It may seem self-explanatory, but many fireworks users want to stay and make sure the firework will function properly. But, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, most firework injuries to the hands and face are from people standing too close to fireworks after the fuse has been lit. To ensure optimal safety, stand back at least 25-40 feet from fountain and ground-based displays, and 75-100 yards from aerial products.
Know your laws and burn ban notices.
Make sure to study up on the laws that pertain to your community about fireworks. In Texas, it is legal to buy and sell fireworks, but, due to burn bans, it is illegal to use them in San Antonio, Dallas, Duncanville, Garland, Irving, Richardson, and Arlington. To see if your city or county is under a burn ban, visit your county website before July 4.
Keep water nearby for used or “dud” fireworks.
When you light a firework and it doesn’t go off, wait 15 minutes at a safe distance to make sure the firework isn’t just slow to ignite. If it doesn’t go off, then use a water hose or bucket of water to soak the “dud.” Soak all fireworks or sparklers that have already been used with water. Never reignite a used firework.
Properly store leftover fireworks.
Fireworks should be stored in a cool, dry place to make sure they are functional and safe for later use. Additionally, make sure that fireworks are not stored near gas pipes, flammable substances, water boilers, or radiators.
With these tips, we hope you all have a fun and safe Fourth of July holiday.