The 4th of July should be a time to spend time with friends and family. However, celebratory days can lead to accidents, injuries, and death if you don’t take proper precautions, especially when dealing with fireworks.
Follow these 9 safety tips for a fun-filled, safe 4th of July this year.
Check State Laws
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports most of the 9,100 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries last year occurred around the 4th of July.
Most states, like Rhode Island, allow consumer fireworks, but not all. Illinois, Ohio, and Vermont only permit sparklers and other novelties. Massachusetts banned all consumer fireworks, including those allowed by the CPSC.
Check for Recalls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission governs the safety of fireworks and issues recalls when they discover a product poses a potential danger. This year they recalled 38,000 fireworks in four states.
Stick to Consumer-Grade
Professional-grade fireworks are more powerful and more dangerous. They’re usually wrapped in brown paper and they’re not suitable for consumer use.
Big Isn’t Better
It is illegal for anyone to sell large reloadable mortar shells, cherry bombs, aerial bombs, M-80 salutes, and larger firecrackers containing more than two grains of powder to consumers. It is also illegal to sell mail-order kits to build them.
Children are fascinated by fireworks, but that doesn’t mean they should handle them. The CPSC reports firecrackers cause 19 percent of injuries, but sparklers cause almost half of all children under 5-years of age. They burn at around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
One at a Time
Light fireworks one at a time so you have time to clear the area. Keep your body and clothing well away from the device when lighting. Wear eye protection too.
Designate a safety zone around the ignition area so children, pets, and adults don’t get too close.
Handle Fireworks Properly
If fireworks don’t ignite, don’t try to relight it. Saturate with water and discard.
If you set off fireworks, wait for them to finish burning and then saturate with water and discard.
Don’t point or throw fireworks at others and never ignite fireworks inside containers, pipes, or enclosed areas.
Practice Fire Safety
Keep the garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case of emergency. Never ignite fireworks in dry, brushy areas that could start fire.
If you’re grilling this 4th of July, ensure it is well away from structures, trees, and other flammable materials. Keep it free of grease buildup and never leave it unattended.
Watch the Heat
It can get pretty hot in July and with all the excitement people may spend more time in the sun than they should. Drinking alcohol in the heat can also prevent the body from regulating its temperature properly. Ensure everyone stays well-hydrated, and don’t forget the hat and sunscreen!
Recognize the signs of heat stroke. If you notice someone’s feeling weak or dizzy or even losing consciousness, move them to a cooler place and call 9-1-1. Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs and is especially worrisome for individuals over 50-years of age.