More than likely this summer, family and friends will be gathering together to celebrate numerous occasions. And what better way to celebrate than adding in some fireworks! While this may add some fun and excitement to an event, fireworks can be extremely dangerous and deadly if not used properly.
With June being national firework safety month, we thought it would be beneficial to provide some safety tips if you choose to celebrate with fireworks this summer.
- Use fireworks that are legal. There are many different types of fireworks. Make sure the fireworks are legal/ approved by your state and local municipality before purchasing or using them.
- NEVER try to re-light or pick-up a firework that has not ignited fully. A firework may go off at anytime; even ten minutes after you initially tried to light it. If a firework does not go off when lit give it an hour or two before getting near it and proceed with caution.
- DO NOT put your head over a firework at any time whether you believe it has discharged fully or not! You may have thought something went off completely and it didn’t.
- Light fireworks one at a time then move back/ away quickly as fireworks can malfunction or explode at anytime.
- Make sure an appropriate amount of space is clear around the fireworks. Fireworks that spin, twist, release numerous shots at one time or have a cardboard shell are not always very sturdy and may tip over towards a crowd or other surrounding buildings/items. (Note: use fireworks on a hard, flat surface and brace if necessary). Always make sure to keep an appropriate distance between the fireworks and any objects or people. A minimum distance of 35ft is recommended for fountains and other ground-based items and at least 70ft per inch of shell for aerial items. Best practice would be to leave as much or more distance as possible!
- Avoid lighting fireworks in any area where there is dry grass, brush or flammable items that could catch fire.
- NEVER allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Fireworks are explosives that can cause serious injuries or even be deadly.
- Sparklers may seem like a safe option for smaller children, but that is not the case. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.
- Keep a garden hose nearby in case of fire and to douse the firework before safely discarding.
- Never use fireworks as weapons.
- Never point, aim, or throw fireworks at another person.
- DO NOT touch or use fireworks when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Store fireworks in an outdoor cool, dry place away from children. Dispose of fireworks by thoroughly dousing them with water, letting them sit for a few hours, then placing them in a sealed metal trash can outside. NEVER store used fireworks indoors.
- Use fireworks outside under safe conditions. Be cautious of using fireworks during strong wind conditions. If there is some wind, light fireworks with the wind blowing away from spectators. If there is a wind shift or stronger winds while shooting fireworks; stop the shooting until the wind subsides. NEVER use fireworks indoors.
- It is recommended anyone shooting fireworks or standing nearby wear protective eyewear.
While most of these safety tips should be common sense, when we are in the “moment” we sometimes forget about dangers and that fireworks are actually explosive devices. Because fireworks hold such a high risk for serious burns, fires, and eye injuries, the National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association, recommend people avoid consumer fireworks entirely and enjoy public displays put on by professionals. There are still some public firework displays that will go on this summer in Wisconsin. You can check with your local municipalities and other community organizations to confirm if your show is still on, if it has been postponed or cancelled.
However you decide to celebrate this year, all of us at KBC, hope you have a healthy and SAFE summer!