Fireworks are a time-tested staple of July 4th. In addition to the large-scale firework displays organized by countless cities and townships, many of us enjoy creating firework shows of our own – albeit on a substantially smaller scale. However, as evidenced by the staggering number of firework-adjacent injuries that occur every summer, it can’t be denied that fireworks can be dangerous when handled improperly. Fortunately, practicing proper firework safety is neither difficult nor cumbersome. As you’ll find, a little bit of forethought and a willingness to learn can pave the way for safe, enjoyable firework use this summer. Safety-conscious firework enthusiasts would do well to avoid the following mistakes.
Handling Fireworks Under the Influence
It’s no secret that alcohol is a common presence at Fourth of July gatherings – or any type of gathering, for that matter. However, since even a little bit of booze stands to impair your judgment, there are certain things that are off-limits when you’ve been drinking, and setting off fireworks is one of them. When dealing with something that could cause tremendous property damage, serious injury or worse, you should not be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. With this in mind, make a point of staying completely sober at any shindig at which you’re in charge of handling fireworks. While this may mean partying less than you’d prefer, your willpower will not only help ensure your safety, but the safety of everyone else in attendance.
Alternatively, if you won’t be the one shooting off fireworks, make sure that whoever is stays away from alcohol for the duration of the event. In fact, whenever you host a July 4th shindig, everyone in attendance should be aware that drug or alcohol consumption will prohibit them from handling fireworks. This policy is likely to draw complaints from various guests, but at the end of the day, this is being done to protect them, not to put a damper on their fun.
Attempting to Relight Fireworks
Under no circumstances should you attempt to relight a firework. While dealing with duds can be disappointing, attempting to relight one can result in you taking a direct hit from an active firework. Additionally, even if a firework appears to be a dud, it may simply be a matter of delayed ignition. As such, whenever you have a potential dud on your dads, take care to douse it with water before proceeding to dispose of it. By extension, you should do this with all fireworks before throwing them out. You’ll also need to keep a hose and/or water bucket on hand to ensure that all duds – and non-duds – are promptly doused. Furthermore, keeping a fire extinguisher close by can help make short work of fires before they’re able to get out of hand.
Lighting Multiple Fireworks at Once
The more fireworks you set off at once, the greater your chances of starting a fire or incurring an injury. The desire to create a visual feast is perfectly understandable, but it’s simply not worth the potential consequences. So, no matter how tempted you are to shoot off multiple fireworks at once, make a point of sticking to one at a time. Furthermore, take care to quickly back up a safe distance upon lighting each firework.
Pointing Fireworks at People
Pointing fireworks at yourself or another person is just about the most dangerous thing you can do. Unsurprisingly, this type of behavior often coincides with drug and alcohol use – which is yet another reason to only handle fireworks sober. Additionally, avoid pointing fireworks at objects, as this stands to result in massive fires and/or property damage.
Purchasing Faulty Fireworks
When shopping around for the right fireworks, make sure to limit your options to companies and retailers whose products have a reputation for reliability. Whether you’re purchasing bulk fireworks or a few sparklers, steer clear of products that stand to compromise your safety. You should avoid purchasing fireworks that have been manufactured for professional displays, as these could pose a danger to regular consumers. These fireworks are often identifiable by being packaged in brown paper.
For many of us, fireworks and July 4th are an inseparable combination. However, despite how much fun putting on your own firework displays can be, failing to take the proper precautions can have a number of undesirable consequences. From property damage to serious injury to death, improperly handled fireworks are no joke. To help ensure that you and those around you have an incident-free Independence Day, make a point of avoiding the blunders discussed above.