Planning a fireworks display? Here's how to stay safe.

Photo (c) Stefa Nikolic - Getty Images

If fireworks are legal in your state, you want to be sure to avoid any injuries or trips to the ER

Fourth of July usually means big-time sales and trips to get away for a long weekend. 

And for many Americans, it also means fireworks. While fireworks are fun and provide great entertainment on warm summer nights, they also come with a great deal of injury risk. 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2022 Fireworks Annual Report, there were 11 fireworks-related deaths last year, and approximately 7,400 fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency rooms across the country between June 17, 2022, and July, 17, 2022. Additionally, according to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks account for 19,500 fires every year. 

Staying safe with fireworks

To avoid a holiday trip to the ER – or perhaps something much worse – consumers should follow important safety precautions. The National Safety Council shared a list of tips for consumers to follow if they choose to light fireworks at home this July Fourth

  • Young children should never be handling fireworks, and older children should only do so under close adult supervision. 

  • Never light fireworks indoors or in containers.  

  • Never light fireworks in the direction of another person, houses, or other flammable materials. 

  • Never try to re-light or maneuver malfunctioning fireworks. 

  • Light one firework at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting. 

  • Use protective eyewear when using or standing near someone using fireworks. 

  • Never hold lit fireworks in your hand, or point or throw fireworks at another person – lit or unlit. 

  • Never light fireworks while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. 

  • Keep a water bucket or hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go out or in case of fire. 

  • Soak both used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before throwing them away. 

  • Only light fireworks that are labeled for consumer use – not professional use. 

  • Never light illegal fireworks. 

Experts from professional organizations urge consumers to watch professional fireworks displays, rather than light their own fireworks at home. However, safety is of the utmost importance when choosing to set off your own fireworks. 

“Fireworks are beautiful to watch, but they can be deadly when mishandled or misused, or if the fireworks themselves contain illegal components,” said Alex Hoehn-Saric, chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “I urge everyone to use care around fireworks, only use fireworks labeled for consumer use, and always keep children far away from fireworks, including sparklers. We want everyone to have a safe and fun celebration.” 

Sparklers have risks too

While fireworks certainly come with injury and safety risks, experts want consumers to know that sparklers do, too. Often, we give sparklers to kids to wave around and play with. However, the risk of burns is very high. 

The National Fire Protection Association reported that sparklers burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter than boiling water, cakes baking, wood burning, and glass melting. If that comes in contact with skin, the result is dangerous. 

The organization recommends that consumers turn to safer, non-flammable options – confetti poppers, noise makers, silly string, colored streamers, or glow sticks. 

Remember your pets

Because your furry friend might be roaming around the barbecue, it’s important to consider their safety during fireworks displays this July Fourth. Many dogs get nervous and skittish with the loud sounds, and that anxiousness on top of the safety risks can be dangerous. 

It’s not uncommon for pets to go missing during loud and crowded events. The ASPCA recommends keeping your pet in a secure area during parties and making sure they’re indoors in a space they’re comfortable in and familiar with during any fireworks displays. 

Additionally, keeping music or the TV on and keeping pets away from windows while fireworks are going off can help balance out some of the loud noises and may help them feel less scared. 

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