By: Lisa D.–Acuity
The Fourth of July is fast approaching, which means summer—a season to celebrate with barbecues, baseball, parades, picnics, and fireworks–is officially here. Fireworks can cause injuries and property damage, which is why it is important to review fireworks safety before the summer season arrives.
Most firework injuries result from the recreational use of sparklers, bottle rockets, and firecrackers. Temperatures from these types of fireworks can range from 1,200 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt metal and cause third-degree burns. While fireworks may seem like a typical summer tradition, they can be dangerous and illegal.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO PRACTICE FIREWORK SAFETY
- Know the law. Learn and obey the local laws regarding the use of fireworks. Cities and towns within the same state may have different regulations. Check with the local police department if you are unsure. If fireworks are not legal where you are, do not use them.
- Keep a Safe Distance. Even if your area allows fireworks, legal fireworks can cause injury if not used properly. Keep everyone a safe distance away from fireworks, especially children and pets who find the noise and light frightening. Leave any area where amateurs are using fireworks.
- Buyer Beware. Fireworks should be bought only from reliable and licensed dealers. Approximately 41 percent of imported shipments of consumer fireworks contain banned hazardous substances. Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign they were made for professional displays and could be a danger to consumers.
- Use Cautiously. Do not use illegal explosives and do not experiment with homemade fireworks. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of fire or accident. Use fireworks outdoors, away from buildings and vehicles. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Light one at a time, and move away quickly. Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Soak fireworks with water before throwing them away in a metal trash can away from combustibles.
- Leave it to the Professionals. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. This is a great way to celebrate with friends and family and often times these events are free!