6 Tips for Staying Safe With Fireworks
Lighting fireworks is an ancient holiday tradition that dates back to China around the year 200 BC. While this is an exciting way to celebrate, it can also be dangerous. In 2013, more than 11,000 people were injured by fireworks, and the National Fire Protection Association estimates that more than 50,000 fires are attributed to their use each year. However, you can dramatically reduce the risks by following some simple safety tips. Here’s how to keep your family safe when handling fireworks.
- Use common sense
Many fireworks injuries can be prevented simply by using your common sense. Don’t light more than one firework at a time. Don’t relight duds. Don’t let your kids pick up or play with fireworks pieces. Maintain a safe distance and never point fireworks at a person, animal, or structure. Don’t let small children light fireworks at all, and supervise teens closely. Always soak used fireworks in water to make sure nothing is still burning or prone to explosion before disposing of them.
- Follow the law
Choose legal fireworks from a reputable supplier. Illegal fireworks are not regulated and can be both poorly made and highly dangerous. Consumer fireworks are labeled as 1.4G, and are still sometimes referred to by their older name, Class C fireworks. M80s, Cherry Bombs, and the like are NOT considered consumer fireworks and have been banned in the United States since the 1960s. There are some exceptions for those who hold a federal explosives license and are using them for a designated purpose, but lighting them as consumer fireworks is never permitted. Check all state and local ordinances, as not all consumer fireworks are permitted in all areas. Laws can vary widely between states, cities, and even counties.
- Know your fireworks
Fireworks come in a vast array of types and styles. Some are designed to launch high into the air before exploding, while others track across the ground or stay low to the horizon. Always read the packaging information to find out exactly what to expect, and make sure you clear a large enough area. Remember Murphy’s law, and use a larger safety radius than you expect to need.
- Set the stage
Designate a safety range around the spot where you plan to hold your fireworks display. Do not allow anyone other than the designated lighter to enter that area, especially small children. Clear out flammable materials before you begin lighting your fireworks. Set a bucket of water or connected water hose close to where you will light them. Take pets indoors or safely contain them out of the way. Of course, many adults choose to imbibe alcoholic beverages on major fireworks holidays, but the designated fireworks lighter should be sober. Before you light each firework, take a look around. Make sure the area is clear and everyone is standing at a safe distance.
- Watch out for sparklers
Surprisingly, many of the fireworks-related injuries each year are caused by innocent-looking sparklers. They can actually burn at temperatures approaching 2000 F, hotter than needed to melt glass, and close to the temperature required to melt gold. If you allow your kids to use them, make sure they understand exactly how to safely hold and maneuver them. Insist on non-flammable clothing, and thoroughly douse sparklers in water after they burn out.
- Seek medical attention
If you or your child sustain a fireworks injury, seek medical attention right away. Do not allow kids to pick at injuries, especially in the eye, where rubbing could cause additional damage. Do not attempt to provide first aid for an eye injury, but you can run cool (not cold) water over a skin burn. Either way, prompt medical treatment is vital. Fortunately, the vast majority of fireworks injuries are relatively minor, and the sufferer is treated and released.
Don’t let the fear of injuries stop you from enjoying the age-old tradition of setting off your own fireworks. Instead, use common sense and the tips above to keep your family safe.
At Dynamite Fireworks, we don’t only sell top-quality, name-brand fireworks. We also provide the information you need to know to use them responsibly, legally, and safely. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at (219) 937-4090. We look forward to becoming your one-stop shop for all your fireworks needs!
This article was sponsored by Indy with Kids partner, Dynamite Fireworks. We thank them for their support of Central Indiana families!