Watching fireworks displays in the summer is as time-honored an American tradition as baseball or apple pie. While fireworks can be awe inspiring, they can also be incredibly dangerous, cause serious injury, pose a significant danger to personal safety, and are a fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association’s studies on fireworks safety suggest that fireworks cause a staggering average of 18,500 fires per year. On top of that, an estimated 12,900 injuries from fireworks are handled by emergency rooms per year, with more than one-third of those happening to children. Those statistics might sound horrifying, but they’re also entirely preventable. In this blog, we’ll go over the top 4 tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fireworks-related injury.
1. Sparklers Are More Dangerous than You Think
One of the most surprising facts is how dangerous sparklers can be. When parents think about fireworks safety, they’re typically thinking of the larger, more explosive fireworks, but sparklers can be deadly if handled improperly. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, sparklers can burn at around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they burn at roughly the same temperature as an industrial blow torch. Parents obviously wouldn’t let kids run down the street carrying a blow torch, so it’s important to be responsible when lighting sparklers and to never let young children play with them.
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2. Stand Clear to Stay Safe
It may seem obvious, but when lighting fireworks, never point them at another person or have any part of your body above or in the firework’s expected trajectory. Fireworks don’t always travel exactly as you might expect, so only light one firework at a time and immediately step away from a firework as soon as you light it. Practicing responsible fireworks safety depends on your staying vigilant and watching each firework that you light carefully.
3. Duds Are Still Dangerous
Fireworks don’t always have the same rigorous manufacturing processes as products we bring into our homes, and it’s not uncommon for some to light improperly or to go out before fully igniting or exploding. If you ever encounter a firework that fails to ignite or explode properly, do not pick it up or relight it. Leave it alone, and when some time has passed, douse it with water and properly dispose of it.
4. Responsible Disposal Is Key to Fireworks Safety
Speaking of which, proper fireworks safety still needs to be practiced, even after you’re done lighting them. Responsible disposal of fireworks is essential to avoiding injuries and fires. Always have a water hose or bucket of water handy, and once a firework has fully ignited and cooled, douse it with water. If you throw away fireworks without dousing them, you risk causing trash fires that can spread and cause injury or significant property damage.
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5. Attend Professional Fireworks Shows
You can eliminate your risk of personally injuring yourself by attending professional fireworks shows instead of launching your own fireworks at home. Professional shows are put together by experienced technicians who undergo specialized safety training about pyrotechnics and fireworks. You won’t have to worry about burning your hand or a malfunctioning firework hurting you.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Many firework injuries occur because the person using the firework was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the injury. Being intoxicated significantly increases your risk of getting hurt. The combination of fireworks and alcohol increases the likelihood that you’ll improperly operate a firework and hurt someone. Nearly 10,000 people every year go to the emergency room for care after a firework injury.
7. Don’t Relight Fireworks
If a firework malfunctions and doesn’t go off properly after you light it the first time, don’t try to relight it. There could be something seriously wrong with the firework. Lighting it with fire could cause an accident that is dangerous to the person using the firework and people watching.
To roperly dispose of consumer fireworks, soak live fireworks in a bucket of water overnight before putting the wet fireworks into plastic bags for disposal. Each city in Illinois may have slightly different rules when it comes to operating and disposing of fireworks. The laws in Illinois prohibit the sale or use of most types of fireworks, including sparklers. Using fireworks in Chicago requires a permit that’s hard to get.
8. Light One Firework at a Time
If you choose to light fireworks, use just one firework at a time. Using multiple fireworks at a time makes it difficult to keep track of the paths of fireworks and increases the chances of making a mistake. Plus, it is easier to focus on what it is you’re doing when you only have to do one thing at a time.
Suffered an Injury from Fireworks?
With these fireworks safety tips in mind, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe when playing with or watching fireworks. By their very nature, fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, and if you or a loved one are injured by fireworks, we’re standing by to help. Our experienced legal team knows how to handle cases like this, and we can fight swiftly and effectively to get you the justice you deserve from any fireworks-related injuries. We always offer free consultations, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think you might have a case. We know injuries are incredibly stressful, so check out our testimonials here and see how we’ve helped countless others handle similar injuries. Have a fun and safe summer!