Happy Independence Day Weekend! As we enter into a holiday filled with outdoor festivities like boating, campfires, and the always exciting amateur firework shows, it is important to remember to be cautious. The Fourth of July is the most dangerous American holiday weekend, in fact there were about 10,500 firework related injuries on July 4, 2014. The combination of flames, fireworks, and alcohol can be a formula for disaster and so this year we’ve created a list of pointers to help you stay safe on the fourth of July.
- Read the instructions, don’t assume you know how to use the fireworks. Not only are all fireworks different but by being familiar with the proper use on the warning labels you will be able to spot defective devices.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look around, is there any dry grass or vegetation nearby? Is there an overhead canopy of trees that might get in the way of the firework? It’s easier to relocate for the evening than to relocate permanently when your front lawn lights on fire.
- Where’s the dog? Pets are unpredictable around fireworks because they don’t understand what is happening and can be scared easily. Make sure that you keep animals at a safe distance, unless you want to end up like this family.
- Use a long grill lighter when lighting the fireworks. Using your standard cigarette lighter is a great way to get yourself burned. Firework fuses and sparklers burn at around 1000° F so it is wise to keep your hand as far from the device as possible.
- When a fireworks device fails to go off, don’t stand above it to see what’s wrong. Douse it with water and dispose of it. Don’t try to relight it. If you’re upset about the waste of money, go to a firework stand on the 5th of July. Everything will be 50% off and you can try again.
- Always keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy. You don’t want to be scrambling around should something go wrong, so be prepared.
- Absolutely DO NOT attempt to modify any firework. The decision to make homemade fireworks can be a deadly one – 66% of firework related deaths in 2012 were from homemade/modified devices.
Remember, the Fourth of July is a day of celebration and time to be outside with family and friends. Spending the day in the hospital with third degree burns will not be nearly as enjoyable. If you use common sense, obey warning labels, and be prepared, you will have no problem enjoying your roman candles, bottle rockets, and sparklers.