Bright, colorful fireworks displays are a staple at many traditional Fourth of July gatherings and are a wonderful addition to the festive celebration. Year after year, consumers are warned about employing proper safety precautions with fireworks and many do, resulting in a fun day with happy memories.
Without proper safety precautions, however, Independence Day celebrations can end in disaster. In 2011, fireworks caused four deaths, 9,600 injuries, nearly 17,800 reported fires and $32 million in property damage.
To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) recommends that consumers follow these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Only purchase legal fireworks that are designed for consumer use.
- Never attempt to make your own fireworks.
- Only use fireworks outdoors and never ignite them in dry grass.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Even sparklers can pose a risk for serious injury, since they burn at temperatures of nearly 2,000 degrees — hot enough to burn some metals.
- Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse, and back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
- Light fireworks one at a time.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Never try to re-ignite or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- After fireworks are finished burning, completely douse them with water before discarding them into a metal trash bin.
- Keep a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire.
Consumers should contact local authorities to find out if fireworks are legal or restricted in their areas before purchasing or using fireworks. Discharging fireworks illegally can result in substantial fines.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a show conducted by trained professionals. Attendees should sit a safe distance away from the firing area to avoid injuries from falling debris. After the show, adults should keep a close eye on children to ensure they do not pick up fireworks that may be left over, which may still be active and can cause serious injury.
Make sure your Independence Day celebration includes freedom from injury by making safety a top priority. For more tips on staying safe this summer, please visit www.Alarm.org.