Fireworks safety tips
Fireworks are a great pastime, but they often come with certain dangers. Here are a few tips to ensure that your experience with fireworks is not only enjoyable, but safe as well.
Store and dispose safely
Prior to being used, fireworks should be stored in cool, dry areas. After use, soak them in water before placing them inside of a metal trashcan outdoors.
Handle with care
Do not carry fireworks in your pockets or purse. Instead, keep them in a closed container until you are ready to use them.
Keep water nearby
The reality is that accidents can always happen, so be prepared. During an official show, there should always be one person waiting to put out any fires that may spring up. For more casual uses of fireworks, just be sure that there is ready access to water in your immediate area.
Beware the wind
The direction of the wind can play a big role in spectator safety. Wind should always be blowing away from anyone watching the show, otherwise residue from the fireworks may blow toward the people in the crowd. If there is a shift in the wind before or during the show, either change the setup or wait until the wind dies down to continue.
Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
Rules of reloadables
Do not use a shell or tube that has been damaged or come into contact with water. Never try to force a shell to fit. Use only one shell at a time and be sure to wait 30 seconds before reloading the tube with a new shell. After lighting the fuse, move to a minimum of 20 feet away from the launch tube.
Mind the launch zone fireworks
If there are other fireworks that are not being used near your launch zone, cover them up so that they are not ignited by stray sparks.
Use fireworks sober
Fireworks can be a lot of fun, but they become significantly more dangerous when the user is intoxicated. Never use fireworks when you are impaired in any way.
Launch from a hard surface
Fireworks must be launched from an upright position on a hard surface in order to function properly. This means that it is a bad idea to launch fireworks from grass or sand alone. Instead, place a wooden board over the grass or sand to give your fireworks a solid base.
Mind the area
Fireworks should only be used in wide open spaces that are free from dry grass or other flammable materials. Audience members should be kept at least 30 feet from ground fireworks and 140 feet away from aerial products.
Be mindful when lighting your fireworks. Keep as far away from the firework as possible, then reach out and light it. If it is dark, use a flashlight to ensure that you can see the fuse properly. Once the fuse is lit, move away from the area quickly.
Do not use "duds"
If a firework will not work the first time, leave it be. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then soak it in water. There is always a reason that the product did not work, so respect that and do not tinker with it. You may wish to return the item to your dealer, who will likely be happy to replace a dud item.
Safety glasses are a good idea for anyone lighting a firework or near somebody who is lighting a firework.
Protect nearby animals
Animals are often startled by loud explosions and bright lights, so it is typically a good idea to keep them far away from fireworks.
Only purchase fireworks from licensed dealers. This will ensure that you are only purchasing safe and legal fireworks.
Follow local laws
Firework regulations can vary from place to place, so be familiar with your local laws. The only way to protect yourself from legal prosecution is to know the fireworks laws in your area.
Fireworks are not weapons
You should never aim or throw a firework at anybody, as they or you could be seriously injured.