With their dazzling display of vibrant colors and loud booms, fireworks are a sight to behold. There’s also an element of danger, including fires, explosions, and fireworks-related injuries. To truly enjoy fireworks safely, taking safety measures is imperative.
According to the 2020 Annual Fireworks Report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in June 2020, the estimated number of people injured by consumer fireworks rose from 10,000 to 15,600, a 56 percent increase from 2019. The report cites 18 non-occupational fireworks-related fatalities in 2020.
Fireworks can cause serious injuries if they’re not used correctly.
Whether you attend public fireworks displays or plan to set off your own at home, be sure to do so safely. Here are a few fireworks safety tips to keep in mind.
How to Safely Use Fireworks
- Read the instructions before lighting your fireworks to ensure you’re using them correctly.
- Light fireworks outside in a clear, open area away from other people and flammable materials. Children and pets should be kept far away from the area.
- Never attempt to relight or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited, as this can increase the risk of accidental injury or fire. Instead, wait until they have completely cooled down before discarding them properly.
- Have a bucket of water or a hose handy in case of any accidental fires.
- Don’t let children handle fireworks or ignite fireworks, including firecrackers and sparklers. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees and account for more than one-quarter of fireworks injuries. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially with sparklers. Never allow young children to play with fireworks.
- Don’t use fireworks if you have been drinking alcohol or are impaired in any way.
- When using fireworks, keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
- Postpone your fireworks display if it’s windy. The wind can blow sparks to nearby buildings, trees, or grass.
- Wear safety glasses when lighting fireworks.
- Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket. The friction may set them off.
- Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or place any part of your body directly over them when igniting the fuse.
- Never carry fireworks in plastic, metal, or glass containers.
- Never point or throw fireworks at someone. Spectators should keep a safe distance.
- Light one firework at a time, then step back quickly. Don’t try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks or pieces of fireworks.
How to Safely Store Fireworks
- Store the fireworks outside your home and away from living areas. A locked storage shed is ideal. Keeping fireworks dry is essential, so be mindful of where you store them.
- If you must keep fireworks in a moisture-prone area, such as a greenhouse, basement, or attic, wrap them up tightly in sealed plastic bags.
- Don’t store fireworks or other explosives in self-storage units.
- Store fireworks away from heat or ignition sources and flammable materials.
- Lock fireworks securely in a cabinet or other container if small children or pets have access to the location.
Fireworks are a fantastic source of entertainment, so make sure you handle them responsibly.