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Celebrating Independence with Safety in Mind

Accidental firework exploding on person as they light it.

As we approach the 4th of July, it’s a time for celebration, family gatherings, and fireworks. While fireworks may add excitement to the festivities, they also pose significant safety risks if not handled properly. Here are some essential tips to ensure you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.


UNDERSTANDING THE RISK

Fireworks can cause severe injuries, including burns, lacerations, and eye damage. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports thousands of injuries each year around the 4th of July. Children are particularly vulnerable, so it’s crucial to supervise them closely.


LEGAL AND SAFE FIREWORKS USE

Using fireworks safely and legally ensures a fun and memorable experience for everyone. Start by buying your fireworks from a reputable and licensed vendor. By avoiding "under the counter" fireworks, you limit the exposure of possible defects that may cause premature or unexpected results leading to injury.


Ensure you have a bucket of water or a hose nearby to extinguish any accidental fires quickly.

Person lighting firework in their hand

SAFE LIGHTING PRACTICES

Never allow young children to handle fireworks. Older children should use them only under close adult supervision. Always light fireworks one at a time, and make sure to stand back quickly once they are lit. It’s crucial to avoid relighting or handling malfunctioning fireworks. If a firework doesn’t ignite properly, wait at least 20 minutes before soaking it in water and disposing of it properly. Additionally, use a long lighting device such as a lighter with an extended nozzle or a punk to maintain a safe distance when igniting fireworks. Clear the area of any flammable materials and ensure that the lighting zone is free from obstructions.


MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE

Keep spectators at a safe distance from the fireworks launch site. Designate a specific area for lighting fireworks, away from homes, dry grass, and other flammable materials. This precaution helps prevent accidental fires and injuries.


Young adult being seen by doctor for fireworks injury to hand

PROTECTIVE GEAR

When handling fireworks, It's best practice that everyone around the fireworks display, especially children, are protected.


  • Wearing protective eyewear is essential to prevent eye injuries from sparks and debris.

  • Wear long sleeves and pants made of non-flammable materials to protect your skin.

  • Gloves can help protect your hands from burns or injuries.

  • Using ear protection, like earplugs or earmuffs, is recommended to safeguard against loud noises that can cause hearing damage.


Bottle of alcohol and fireworks laying on the ground at party

ALCOHOL AND FIREWORKS DON'T MIX

Avoid using fireworks while under the influence of alcohol. Impaired judgment and reduced coordination can lead to accidents and injuries. Alcohol consumption can also make it more difficult to react quickly in case of an emergency, such as a misfire or the spread of a fire. Always designate a sober person to handle and light fireworks. It’s important to enjoy festivities responsibly to ensure everyone’s safety. Planning ahead and setting up a designated area for fireworks away from the main party zone can help reduce the temptation to mix alcohol and fireworks.


Fireworks can be a fun and memorable part of 4th of July celebrations, but safety should always come first. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your Independence Day is both festive and safe.

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