To help you celebrate safely this Fourth of July, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety offers the following safety tips:
- Always read and follow label directions.
- Have an adult present.
- Buy from reliable sellers.
- Use outdoors only.
- Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket).
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).
- Never give fireworks to small children.
- If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trashcan.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
- The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.
- Stay away from illegal explosives.
Tips On Choosing Safe Fireworks
It is extremely important to know the difference between a legal consumer firework and a dangerous explosive device. Items such as M-80s, M-100s and blockbusters are not fireworks, they are federally banned explosives. They can cause serious injury or even death. Stay away from anything that isn't clearly labeled with the name of the item, the manufacturer's name and instructions for proper use. Here are some more tips to help ensure a safe Fourth of July:
- Fireworks are not toys. Fireworks complying with strict regulations enacted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1976 function primarily by burning to produce motion and visible or audible effects. They are burning at approximately the same temperature as a household match and can cause burn injuries and ignite clothing if used improperly.
- NEVER give fireworks to young children. Close, adult supervision of all fireworks activities is mandatory. Even sparklers can be unsafe if used improperly.
- Select and use only legal devices. If you choose to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, check with your local police department to determine what fireworks can be legally discharged in your area.
- Stay away from illegal explosives. Illegal explosive devices continue to cause serious injuries around the Fourth of July holiday. These devices are commonly known as M-80s, M-100s, blockbusters or quarter-pounders. Federally banned since 1966, these items will not contain the manufacturer's name and are usually totally unlabeled. Don't purchase or use unlabeled fireworks. If you are aware of anyone selling such devices, contact your local police department.
- Homemade fireworks are deadly. Never attempt to make your own devices and do not purchase or use any kits that are advertised for making fireworks. Mixing and loading chemical powders is very dangerous and can kill or seriously injure you. Leave the making of fireworks to the experts.
Safety Tips For Public Fireworks Displays
The fire service is usually responsible for the public's safety when a large-scale fireworks display is presented. A trained pyrotechnic operator and crew conduct the actual firing of the display. These professionals know and comply with all state and local regulations. The following tips should help make the display more enjoyable to the public, as well as make the display as safe as possible:
- Spectators should obey all ushers or monitors and respect the safety barriers set up to allow the trained operator room to safely do his job.
- Resist any temptation to get close to the actual firing site. In fact, the best view of the fireworks is from a quarter of a mile or more away.
- Although it rarely happens, it is possible that a firework component might fall to the ground without exploding. The public should be cautioned not to touch these fireworks. If they happen to find any which have not exploded, they should immediately contact the local fire or police department.
- Pets have very sensitive ears and the booms and bangs associated with a fireworks display can be quite uncomfortable -- particularly to dogs. In fact, the noises can actually hurt their ears. Leave pets at home if you are going to a fireworks show.
- Leave the lighting of all fireworks to the trained operator when you attend a public display. Sparklers, fountains and other items that many states allow for use by private individuals are not appropriate to use when a large crowd is present.
- Leave your own fireworks at home, the display will provide plenty of excitement.
- Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!