By Karen Hauca / AZ Safety Solutions
So just where were fireworks invented? It is said that they originated in 7th century China and were used for celebrations. Now that the warmer weather of summer is here, we will enjoy BBQs, parades, fun in the pool or at lakes and beaches. We will also enjoy fireworks displays especially on the 4th of July when our country celebrates its birthday. Beautiful and mesmerizing as a fireworks display can be, fireworks displays should be left to the professionals and not set off by people not trained in their proper use.
Each year there are many injuries and fires caused by the improper use of fireworks. According to the USCPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) in 2017 at least eight people died and approximately 12,900 people sought medical treatment after a fireworks-related injury. Most of these injuries were due to amateurs trying to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks.
While fireworks can be and are used throughout the year, the 4th of July is the one day each year when injuries and fires caused by fireworks are reported the most. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) estimates that fireworks cause and average of 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires. The NSC (National Safety Council) advises people to stay away from all consumer fireworks and if they want to see a fireworks display put on by professionals.
The following are some fireworks that are legal for consumers to buy in some states. But just because they are legal doesn’t make them safe!! Check out the following list of fireworks that may be legal to purchase in your area. To be safe and obey the law, check with authorities first BEFORE making a purchase:
SPARKLERS – While often seen along parade routes, at festivals and other events, parents don’t realize that sparklers can burn at approximately 2,000 degrees! At this temperature some metals can melt and a spark from a sparkler can quickly ignite clothing.
BOTTLE ROCKETS – Are small rockets that have a stick/tail, are lit by a fuse and fired from a bottle or can. Many people, especially teens have bottle rocket “wars”, firing them at each other causing head, chest and eye injuries.
ROMAN CANDLES – Shoot exploding shells from a tube but can cause severe burns to the hands of the person holding the firework which can result in loss of fingers and hands as well as severe burns.
Two words to live by when thinking of using M-class fireworks – JUST DON’T!! M-80s, M-100s, even M-250s can cause an unmistakable explosion that can be big enough to rattle house windows. They are produced illegally with no quality control, short fuses and cause hundreds of severe injuries every year.
If fireworks are legal to use in your area here are a few safety tips you should follow:
• Never use fireworks with impaired by alcohol or drugs.
• Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
• Older children should use them only with close adult supervision.
• Never use them indoors.
• Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should use protective eye wear.
• Use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
• Light one at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
• Never ignite devices in a container.
• Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
• Soak unused and spent fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
• Keep a bucket of water or a fully charged garden hose nearby to extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case a fire starts. In case of fire, Do Not Delay in calling the Fire Department!!
The BEST way to enjoy a fireworks display? Grab a blanket and patch of lawn, relax and watch the display provided by the experts!
AZ Safety Solutions is firefighter/EMT owned safety education company dedicated to providing the community we serve the very best in safety education. Our instructors have a combined 85(+) years of fi eld emergency response and teaching experience. You can contact us by calling AZ Safety Solutions at (520) 838-4508 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org