With many fireworks shows cancelled this year, if you plan to and are able to legally put on your own fireworks display to celebrate the 4th of July, there are some very important safety tips to keep in mind.
Elliot Kaye, the chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has a few tips to keep you and your community safer as we celebrate Independence Day.
“First, never relight a dud. If a firework doesn’t ignite the first time, leave it alone. Secondly, always have a water source nearby,” Kaye said. “And third once you’re done with the fireworks, douse them with that water, so you don’t have any trash fires.”
Kaye also shared surprising information about a firework that most of us played with as kids every July 4th: sparklers.
“Sparklers burn as hot as a blowtorch,” Kaye said. “And if you’re not going to give your kid a blowtorch to run around with, and I hope you don’t, please don’t give them a sparkler!”
On average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. In 2019, CPSC staff received reports of 12 non-occupational, fireworks-related deaths with an estimated 10,000 injuries.
Many of those came from untrained consumers underestimating the power of professional fireworks and social media has been the outlet for many people to engage in riskier behaviors with fireworks.
“A consumer should know never to put one of these mortar shells on his or her body!” Kaye said.
As Chairman Kaye mentioned, beyond personal safety, it’s important to use fireworks in a safe place to prevent fires. In many states, like California, there are legal and illegal fireworks.
“In California, illegal fireworks include those that explode, leave the ground, or move around the ground uncontrollably,” said Daniel Berlant from CalFire. “These include bottle rockets, skyrockets and roman candles.”
“Every year we have fires started by fireworks, when not used correctly!” added Tonya Hoover, the California State Fire Marshall.
In 2016, the Table Rock fire near Boise, Idaho was started by careless use of illegal fireworks. It burned 2600 hundred acres and destroyed one home, but luckily no-one was injured.
“Our hope, to make a safe and fire-free 4th of July!” Berlant said.