Enjoy Your Fireworks Safely

It is July, and here in the United States it is time to celebrate.  These celebrations will include parades, family gatherings, backyard barbeques and, of course, fireworks.

There is nothing quite like a good fireworks show.  The black canvas of the night sky being illuminated by brilliant explosions of color and light, the crackle and boom of each detonation, the smell of the smoke and the roar of the crowd.  The excitement of these displays can make any adult feel like a kid again.

FireworksThere are plenty of professional displays that can be enjoyed across the country in the coming days and it is my recommendation to go out and view one of these.  But, many Americans choose to participate in their own displays (According to the American Pyrotechnics Association and the National Council on Fireworks Safety, Americans spend about $940 million on fireworks annually).  These displays, unfortunately present greater risks to the safety of both participants and spectators.

Injury statistics from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 61% of 2010 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19, and adults 25-44, in an atypical year of a very comparable risk across much of the population.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.


It is also important to note that just because you can purchase certain types of fireworks in your state doesn’t mean they are legal for use in your state.  So, if after all this, you still choose to have your own backyard display, please follow these helpful tips:

Be Prepared, before you light fireworks:

  • Use legal fireworks, available at licensed outlets.
  • Store fireworks out of children’s reach.
  • Keep pets safe indoors.
  • Always keep water handy.

Be Safe, when lighting fireworks:

  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Only use outdoors.
  • Do not throw fireworks or hold in your hand.
  • Protect your eyes.
  • Light one firework at a time and move away quickly.
  • Never relight a “dud”.
  • Keep spectators as far away as possible and aim away from them.

Be Responsible after you finish:

  • Soak used fireworks in water.
  • Be considerate–clean up used fireworks.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, keep safety in mind.  What other tips can you think of?


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