Often, when thinking of the Fourth of July, one of the first things that come to mind are big, beautiful fireworks, with vibrant colors that light up a summer night’s sky. In the midst of all this holiday grandeur, it is important to understand fireworks safety and how to prevent tragedy during your July 4 celebration.
In 2013, 65 percent or 7,400, of all firework injuries occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4th. The majority of these injuries occurred simply because of the malfunction or improper use of legal and illegal fireworks.
Here are some ways fireworks can malfunction:
- Inconsistent flight paths
- Tip-over incidents
- Early or late ignitions
- Debris and blowouts
You, your friends, and family can be put at risk by:
- Purchasing and using illegal fireworks;
- Letting children use fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers;
- Creating or modifying any fireworks;
- Igniting fireworks too close to someone or something; and
- Setting off fireworks improperly.
Small fireworks, like bottle rockets, sparklers, and small firecrackers can appear harmless to children, but during the 30 days surrounding July 4, these kinds of fireworks injured an estimated 1,000 children under the age of 5.
Did you know that sparklers can burn so hot they can melt copper? A sparkler can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter! That’s as hot as a blow torch!
Take a look at our “Un Spark-tacular Celebration” video on children with sparklers.
If you do decide to buy legal fireworks, be sure to take the following safety steps:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging; often, this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Move away to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not gone off or fully functioned.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light one item at a time, then move away quickly.
- After fireworks have gone off and fully functioned, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding, to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Know the risks. Prevent the tragedies. And, have an injury-free Fourth!
Celebrate with safety this Fourth of July.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit our Fireworks Safety Information Center.