Fireworks are a quintessential part of summer. They are also dangerous and contribute to a large number of preventable fires and emergency room visits every year. Understanding the inherent risks in using fireworks and firework safety is essential to responsibly enjoying fireworks while doing your part to reduce the risk of fires. Igniting a plastic container of black power and a potpourri of chemicals for entertainment comes with some pretty obvious risks of personal injury and property damage. Manufactured explosives are always risky and should be taken seriously and used responsibly. Here are some tips for firework safety this summer.
Keep Water & Fire Extinguishers
Make sure to have water and a fire extinguisher on hand when igniting fireworks. This is a basic safety precaution that should always be taken when dealing with open flames and explosives–especially in the heat of summer. Often, fireworks may not be completely extinguished after going off, so ensuring that you have a means to extinguish any residual smoke and flames is important. Aerial fireworks have a tendency to land in inconvenient places like dry brush, trash, or wooded areas, so be extra vigilant about igniting and aiming these fireworks. Always be prepared to put out a fire.
Practice Personal Safety
Protecting yourself and others when using fireworks is extremely important. Always make sure to stand a safe distance away from the firework after igniting it. Also, make sure that pets, children, and other people are well out of the range of the firework before you light it. Aerial fireworks and ground fireworks alike can be dangerous projectiles when ignited and easily cause injury. Clearing an area prior to setting up and lighting fireworks and making sure it remains clear after ignition is an important practice and an essential step to take to ensure personal firework safety.
This personal safety also includes exercising commons sense when handling and igniting fuses. Many a finger, and even hand, has been lost or maimed due to irresponsible handling of fireworks. Never pick up a firework that has been ignited until you are certain it is diffused and cooled. There are instances of people picking up still active fireworks and having them explode or cause burns after failing to ignite. Always ensure used fireworks are cooled before cleaning them up. Keep children from lighting fireworks as well, and closely monitor them with items like sparklers. Fireworks are risky by definition but human error makes them even more dangerous. This summer and over the 4th of July weekend, be sure to prepare and exercise proper firework safety to prevent injuries, fires, and have a fun and safe holiday.