If you plan on setting off fireworks of your own this 4th of July, it’s important to remember just how quickly things can take a turn for the worse.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were more than 12,000 injuries in 2017 related to fireworks and at least 8 people died.
Most of those injuries are to the head, hands, and legs.. and more than half are burns.
The CPSC also states sparklers can easily reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees.. that’s similar to holding a blow torch with your fingers.
While some might be tempted by hand-held fireworks.. it’s important to remember they can also be extremely dangerous.
“We’ve had house and apartment fires over the years from fireworks that people don’t realize go into somebody else’s yard, somebody else’s apartment. We’ve had explosions in hands where they’ll burn their hands or they’ll actually blow parts of their fingers off,” says Mike Roberts, Delta Township Fire Inspector.
Roberts says it’s a good idea to leave fireworks displays to the professionals.
But if you do choose to light them off yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind.
“You want to make sure that a responsible adult is the one lighting off the fireworks, you want to make sure you haven’t been drinking or your intoxicated or you’re under the influence of medications or any drugs,” says Roberts.
He also says, it’s important to keep water nearby, light only one firework at a time, and never relight a dud firework.
Instead, soak it in water for 20-minutes before doing anything else.
“Sometimes there’s just enough spark still in there that it will actually ignite in their hand when they’re moving it away or they’ll bring it into their house and set it there and then it will actually ignite in the house, connects to something and burns,” says Roberts.
Remember, even though it’s legal.. they don’t have to make a big bang to be considered dangerous.
“We want you to have fun, have a great family time, enjoy our patriotism and independence but we also want you to be safe so that you can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have here,” says Roberts.
Michigan law says consumer grade fireworks are allowed to be fired off both the day before, the day of, and the day after the holiday.
However, most communities have their own ordinance.. meaning there are certain quiet hours that prohibit them from being fired off.
You can contact your local city or township for more information on the ordinance where you live.
Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.