Countless Americans are gearing up to use fireworks to celebrate the upcoming Independence Day holiday and, at the end of the year – the New Year. However, when protecting your most significant investment – your home – you always want to ensure you practice proper firework safety.
Firework injuries and home damage are more common than you might think. In 2022 alone, multiple reports of fireworks causing home fires and destruction occurred nationwide. Before you enjoy your fireworks display, it is best to pull out all the stops to enjoy fireworks safely!
Here are some firework safety tips for you, your home, and your loved ones!
8 Fireworks Safety Tips
Below are the essential tips for protecting yourself and others during fireworks displays. Remember, enjoy fireworks but recognize the dangers associated with them.
1. Choose the right location
Lighting fireworks starts with first picking the best location. Hard, even surfaces are your best bet since you want to keep the firework on a flat surface during the fireworks show. Lighting a firework where dry material is present is not an intelligent idea. Typically, a paved street with plenty of space around it is ideal.
2. Designate a safe perimeter
When lighting fireworks, creating a safe distance between spectators and fireworks is essential. Always keep young children safe from the firework display to avoid mishaps in case they are scared/excited. Designate a spectator area and a firework “launch zone.” Keep all flammable materials, glass containers, and other dangerous items out of your discharging perimeter. This means being mindful of any overhead obstructions such as trees, roofs, or power lines. Also, consider using safety glasses.
3. Ignite fireworks and quickly move
Severe burns are often the result of remaining too close and not retreating to your safety perimeter. It is vital that when you set off fireworks, you immediately get to a safe viewing distance. Fireworks have been known to quickly ignite clothing, so avoid loose or baggy clothing. Handling fireworks with care is vital. It is not a bad idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy when lighting your fireworks!
4. Lighting Fireworks – Pace yourself by lighting one firework at a time
Set off fireworks with a plan. You want to ensure you light one firework at a time and never try to light multiple fireworks simultaneously. Not giving yourself enough time to retreat to a safe distance has led to many fireworks injuries. Remember that some fireworks have a delayed explosion, so when you think the display is complete, give it a few more seconds to be safe. Only adults should light fireworks!
5. Have a bucket of water nearby
Having a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby is a must once the fireworks are done. You should fully submerge used fireworks in the bucket of water or thoroughly hose them down to ensure the fireworks are drenched. Some people will do this after lighting each firework or all together at the end. Ensure the fireworks stay on the pavement for a few hours if you use a hose or submerge them overnight in a bucket.
6. Never light duds
A tip worth noting is never to light duds or a “Failed firework.” If you light a firework that does not go off, instead of messing with it or trying to re light it, dispose of it. While a dud may not light, it could be for a good reason, and trying to light a dud can lead to severe injuries if the firework were to explode or misfire.
7. Check your local laws
Keep in mind that before purchasing consumer fireworks, you should always check your local authorities rules and regulations for fireworks. States have rules for all types of fireworks and some aerial fireworks are banned depending on your location. While most states allow for ground-based fireworks, it is best to always check.
➡️ Avoid illegal fireworks
If you live in a state where specific fireworks are illegal, do not use them. While it may be legal to buy fireworks that are illegal in your state, using them is a different story. If your fireworks were to catch a house on fire or cause an issue, you could face severe penalties and even jail time.
➡️ Sparkler safety
Even sparklers need to be used with extreme caution. Sparklers burn at a hot temperature, and dropping sparklers because of burns can result in fires. It is best to avoid letting sparklers touch any part of your body and monitor kids who use sparklers. Dispose of them after use in a bucket of water. Believe it or not, sparklers burn people, and they can even lead to third-degree burns.
8. Never store used fireworks inside overnight
Perhaps the most crucial firework safety tip on the list is this one:
Never store used fireworks inside.
Metal or glass containers are the only acceptable material to keep fireworks after discharging. Even so, they should remain outside in case the fireworks somehow reignite. The last place you would want fireworks to reignite would be in your garage! Improperly stored used fireworks is a leading cause of house fires and fireworks injuries!
Unused fireworks need to be stored in a cool, dry, safe container to avoid causing issues.
The Final Word –
Growing up, we all heard “Safety first,” whenever we did something perceived as risky.
While we might not view lighting fireworks as dangerous, it is best to exercise caution whenever the word fire is mentioned. Personal and home firework safety is vital, especially with aerial fireworks, which can land in gutters, roofs, and homes. Consider enjoying public displays of fireworks to avoid injuries.
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
Remember to use only legal fireworks outdoors, and never throw used fireworks in your garage!
*The tips recommended on this list have been shown to keep people safe while they enjoy fireworks. That said, injuries may occur even if precautions are used. It is important to remember that kids should never light fireworks and use fireworks at your own risk.