Staying Safe with Fireworks
A couple of years ago on the 4th, I was sitting on the beach of Lake Michigan. My family and I were waiting for fireworks to begin. 5 minutes prior to start time, I heard fireworks going off, and turned around just in time to see a man, on fire, running into the lake. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. However, this close call serves as a good reminder that fireworks, while a lot of fun, can be very dangerous and should be handled with care.
Here are some safety precautions that you should consider when preparing to set off fireworks this 4th of July:
- Observe all local laws.
- Never allow children to play with or light fireworks. However, if you do allow them to play with sparklers, make sure there is proper supervision.
- Use them outdoors only. This seems like a no brainier, but you’d be surprised.
- Make sure to read the instructions before use.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Only light them on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and grass, and other things that may catch on fire. A flat surface will help prevent the fireworks from tipping.
- Never try to relight “dud” fireworks.
- Make sure you have quick access to water in case of an accident. Preferably a garden hose that can put out flames before they become uncontrollable.
- Never experiment with or make your own. That’s how you get put on a government watch list.
- Light only one at a time.
- Dispose of them properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan. (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water to avoid burns.)
- Don’t use them as weapons. I speak from experience.
- Wear protective clothing. Particularly goggles and gloves. This will prevent severe eye damage in case of an inadvertent launch to the face, or burns to your hands.
- Never shorten or lengthen the fuse.
Fireworks are a lot of fun, but should be handled with care. I will often suggest that a good way to enjoy the fireworks, and to reduce the risk of any problems occurring, is to take your family to the local fireworks show, rather than setting them off in your own yard. However, if you choose to avoid the crowds and have your own firework fun this summer, make sure to take the proper steps to keep safe.