Blog

Providing thought-provoking leadership, workplace and community insights.

Fireworks Tips for a Safe July 4

fireworks safety
  • Published
  • 24 June 2021
  • Category
  • General

’Tis the season for fireworks and time for some safety reminders.

Last year, random personal use of fireworks and related noise, vandalism, illegal sales and air quality concerns plagued the nation – not just on the Fourth of July, but in the months and weeks leading up to and after the holiday. Excessive use of fireworks was largely attributed to COVID-19 isolation, the need to “blow off steam” and the cancellation of professional displays.

People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or sensitive hearing often find it particularly stressful to hear firecrackers going off in their neighborhood. Sudden, loud noises can also frighten household pets.

On average in the U.S., about 230 people, many of them children, visit the emergency room daily for fireworks-related injuries in the weeks before and after July 4. Most injuries are to the hands, fingers and eyes. In addition, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires and 300 vehicle fires.

This year professional fireworks displays are back on tap in many communities, but the popularity of individual consumer use may not have significantly waned. Consequently, law enforcement agencies in jurisdictions that prohibit or restrict personal use of fireworks have announced plans to protect residents and penalize offenders, which may include holding property owners responsible for illegal activity. In some cases, authorities are attempting to shut down online sales platforms for fireworks that do not meet safety standards.

Being Safe and Sane

Here are 10 fireworks use and safety tips:

  1. Be aware of fireworks laws where you live (or where you will be visiting) and understand your personal liability. Check applicable state, county and municipal laws and consequences for violations.
  2. If you use fireworks, read the instructions and wear eye protection. Do not light fireworks indoors or in a container. Light them one at a time, put them down and keep a safe distance.
  3. Do not allow young children to handle fireworks, even with supervision. Children under 16 account for half of all fireworks-related injuries. Sparklers may seem safe for kids, but they burn at about 2,000°F and can ignite clothing and burn skin.
  4. Never use fireworks when impaired by drugs or alcohol; it’s illegal and unsafe.
  5. Keep water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that are spent or don’t go off, and in case of fire.
  6. Know what to do in the event of a burn or eye injury. You may be able to treat a mild burn with first aid, but if you are unsure, seek medical attention. For eye injuries, do not apply ointment or attempt to remove foreign objects from the eye before seeking emergency care.
  7. Avoid fireworks that are meant for professional displays. These are usually packaged in brown paper. Leave fireworks displays to the experts.
  8. Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.
  9. Make sure your pet wears a tag or has a microchip in case your four-legged friend gets scared and runs away.
  10. Refer to OSHA’s website to learn more about safety measures in the pyrotechnics industry. The National Safety Council is a useful resource on fireworks for personal use.

Have a safe and sane Fourth!

Don’t Miss Out

When you subscribe, you’ll receive periodic updates on our news, publications and events!