Fourth of July Fireworks Safety
Help keep your holiday safe by handling fireworks with care.
Fourth of July festivities aren’t complete without fireworks. But fireworks can cause injury if they’re not used with caution.
What makes them unsafe? Commercially-sold fireworks are extremely hot and can be almost as powerful as professional-grade fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 240 people visit emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries — mostly to the head or hands — each day in July. That’s more than 7,000 injuries in a single month. Fireworks also can cause serious property damage. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fireworks sparked almost 18,000 fires in 2011.
To stay safe this holiday, the NFPA recommends avoiding consumer or at-home fireworks altogether. Instead attend professionally operated fireworks displays and enjoy from a safe distance. But if fireworks are a must-have at your celebration, here are some safety tips to follow:
- Allow only adults to handle fireworks. Individuals younger than 19 sustained 51 percent of fireworks-caused injuries in 2013, according to the CPSC.
- Light fireworks in an open area, away from anything flammable. And never light fireworks in a metal container such as a can.
- Don’t assume small fireworks are safer. Sparklers burn at 1,200°F and caused the majority of fireworks injuries in 2013, according to the CPSC.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby when you light fireworks. Soak used fireworks and sparklers in the water when you’re finished with them.
- Avoid alcohol consumption when lighting fireworks. Alcohol impairs your judgment and coordination — and you need both to handle fireworks safely.
- Don’t try to relight faulty fireworks.
- Don’t carry fireworks in a pocket.
- Follow the directions exactly as listed on the packaging. Some fireworks, such as rockets, are relatively safe when launched in the intended direction (upward). However, users sometimes disregard directions and shoot rockets horizontally or at other people, which can cause serious injury.
- Only buy fireworks from a legal and reputable source. Don’t try to make your own fireworks at home.
Click here for more holiday safety tips from MetLife.