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Posted: June 27, 2018

10 ways to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks safely


By Joshua Trudell, Rare.us

With the national fireworks holiday here, it’s a good time to review safety guidelines that will keep everyone safe and enjoying the show.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep water nearby

When you light fireworks, you are literally playing with fire. Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a working hose within easy reach just in case your clothes, the pile of dry leaves you didn’t notice, or any other flammable object gets one too many sparks.

2. Don’t let children use fireworks unattended

Children and fireworks are both miniature explosives, so putting them together is a bad idea. Even seemingly harmless sparklers can burn tiny hands and arms. If it’s hot enough to melt metal, it’s hot enough to burn your child.

3. Designate an official lighter

Choose one responsible adult to light the fuses. You avoid potential accidents with only one person in charge.

It should go without saying, but the designated lighter should not be under the influence. Alcohol, fire, and explosions are not a good mix.

4. If it’s a dud, it’s still dangerous

A dud can still explode even after it appears to have gone out. Your best bet is to soak it with water and leave it alone for at least 20 minutes.

In the case of bottle rockets that don’t ignite, DO NOT look into the opening. People have reportedly died from fireworks to the eye while making that exact move.

5. Fireworks are not throwing toys

It sounds like a story that starts with “Hold my beer and watch this,” but every year there are stories of injuries caused by people throwing fireworks.

Would you want someone throwing a lit cherry bomb at you? No, so don’t play around, even in a joking manner, with any fireworks.

BRPH/Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Keep a safe space

What kind of fireworks you are using will determine how far is a safe distance for onlookers. In most cases, a distance of about 20 feet will work, but practice good judgment. Larger explosions require more distance.

7. Wear safety glasses

Safety glasses can save your eyes when sparks shoot around and jumping jacks fly into the air.

While it might not be possible for everyone to have safety glasses, the lighter should definitely have them.

8. Obey the law

Another somewhat self-explanatory tip, but obey the local laws when using fireworks. It is easy for stray fireworks to end up on a neighbor’s roof or to hit a passing car.

Check your local ordinances to find out what rules your town or city has for personal fireworks.

9. Listen to fire safety reports

If there’s a drought, it’s not a good idea to blast off fireworks. Dry leaves, trees, and grass can easily ignite if a spark from a firework lands in the right place. If those dry leaves are on the roof of your house or a neighbor’s house, you could have a fireworks display that will ruin your day.

If your local fire department prohibits fireworks until after a good rain, listen to them.

10. Only buy legal fireworks

Don’t buy explosives from an unknown vendor.

Legal consumer fireworks will have labels and instructions on them. If they don’t, then they are either for professionals or manufactured illegally. In either case, those aren’t the fireworks you want to set off around your friends and family.


Related

July 4: Quotes about Independence Day, freedom, patriotism

America will celebrate Independence Day in a couple of weeks, and in honor of July 4th, here’s what some patriots, politicians and just plain people have to say about freedom.

“The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic - have always blown on free men.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.” – Robert J. McCracken

"The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor, and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly." – John F. Kennedy

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom." – Malcolm X

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” – Erma Bombeck

“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” – Thomas Jefferson

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

"The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea—and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn't matter where you came from, but where you are going." – Condoleezza Rice

“Freedom is never free.” – Author Unknown

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” – William J. Clinton

"Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country." – Calvin Coolidge

“My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing, Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside, Let freedom ring!” – Samuel Francis Smith

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.” – Ronald Reagan

"So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring." – Martin Luther King Jr.

"Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." – Samuel Adams

 

 

 

  July 4: Quotes about Independence Day, freedom, patriotism
  The history of July 4: Celebrating America’s independence
  Glow sticks instead of fireworks? The safety advice you need to know
  Which fireworks cause the most injuries?
  10 ways to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks safely
  5 tragic fireworks accidents that show how dangerous they can be

The history of July 4: Celebrating America’s independence

July 4, also known as Independence Day, celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

>> Read more trending news 

The document, which declared America’s independence from Great Britain, was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by the Continental Congress.

John Adams believed the holiday would be celebrated July 2, the day Congress “voted in favor of independence.” (Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826.)

July 4 became a national holiday nearly 100 years after the Declaration was signed, in 1870.

Every July 4, at 12 p.m., the nation’s military bases participate in a 50-gun salute — one for each state.

Glow sticks instead of fireworks? The safety advice you need to know

Parents looking for safer or legal alternatives to fireworks during the holiday weekend could be tempted to turn to glow sticks.

>> Read more trending news

While glow sticks and glow jewelry can be a less fiery way to light up the holiday evenings, an Oklahoma poison center wants parents to be mindful.

The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information said poison centers manage increasing numbers of calls about exposure to the chemicals inside glow products during Independence Day weekend.

“Because of their attractive shapes and colors, glow products are very tempting for children to place in the mouth,” the center said in a release. “In doing so, the child may bite into and puncture the product, allowing the liquid to leak out and be swallowed or splash into the eye.”

Seeing a child with a glowing liquid coating their mouth can be extremely concerning, but the center says a mouthful of the liquid is “minimally toxic” and should only cause minor mouth, throat or skin irritation.

Any liquid on the skin should be washed off with soap and water. If swallowed, parents should gently wipe skin around the mouth and give the child something to drink.

If splashed into the eyes, the glow liquid needs to be thoroughly irrigated.

Call a local poison control center immediately for treatment recommendations following any exposure to glow products.

Additionally, observe children closely to help prevent glow product mishaps that could cause a fun day to end painfully.

Which fireworks cause the most injuries?

Independence Day is upon us, and lots of us will celebrate by watching fireworks – or shooting off our own.

>> Read more trending news

All that firepower results in thousands of injuries and a handful of fatalities each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“On average, 250 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4 holiday,” the agency notes. “Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries.”

According to a month-long report conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during the summer of 2015, of the approximately 8,000 injuries caused by fireworks, sparklers caused the most injuries and rockets caused the second most.

Here are some more of the agency’s findings:

10 ways to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks safely

With the national fireworks holiday here, it’s a good time to review safety guidelines that will keep everyone safe and enjoying the show.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep water nearby

When you light fireworks, you are literally playing with fire. Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a working hose within easy reach just in case your clothes, the pile of dry leaves you didn’t notice, or any other flammable object gets one too many sparks.

2. Don’t let children use fireworks unattended

Children and fireworks are both miniature explosives, so putting them together is a bad idea. Even seemingly harmless sparklers can burn tiny hands and arms. If it’s hot enough to melt metal, it’s hot enough to burn your child.

3. Designate an official lighter

Choose one responsible adult to light the fuses. You avoid potential accidents with only one person in charge.

It should go without saying, but the designated lighter should not be under the influence. Alcohol, fire, and explosions are not a good mix.

4. If it’s a dud, it’s still dangerous

A dud can still explode even after it appears to have gone out. Your best bet is to soak it with water and leave it alone for at least 20 minutes.

In the case of bottle rockets that don’t ignite, DO NOT look into the opening. People have reportedly died from fireworks to the eye while making that exact move.

5. Fireworks are not throwing toys

It sounds like a story that starts with “Hold my beer and watch this,” but every year there are stories of injuries caused by people throwing fireworks.

Would you want someone throwing a lit cherry bomb at you? No, so don’t play around, even in a joking manner, with any fireworks.

6. Keep a safe space

What kind of fireworks you are using will determine how far is a safe distance for onlookers. In most cases, a distance of about 20 feet will work, but practice good judgment. Larger explosions require more distance.

7. Wear safety glasses

Safety glasses can save your eyes when sparks shoot around and jumping jacks fly into the air.

While it might not be possible for everyone to have safety glasses, the lighter should definitely have them.

8. Obey the law

Another somewhat self-explanatory tip, but obey the local laws when using fireworks. It is easy for stray fireworks to end up on a neighbor’s roof or to hit a passing car.

Check your local ordinances to find out what rules your town or city has for personal fireworks.

9. Listen to fire safety reports

If there’s a drought, it’s not a good idea to blast off fireworks. Dry leaves, trees, and grass can easily ignite if a spark from a firework lands in the right place. If those dry leaves are on the roof of your house or a neighbor’s house, you could have a fireworks display that will ruin your day.

If your local fire department prohibits fireworks until after a good rain, listen to them.

10. Only buy legal fireworks

Don’t buy explosives from an unknown vendor.

Legal consumer fireworks will have labels and instructions on them. If they don’t, then they are either for professionals or manufactured illegally. In either case, those aren’t the fireworks you want to set off around your friends and family.

5 tragic fireworks accidents that show how dangerous they can be

Fireworks are beautiful to look at, especially over the Fourth of July weekend, but if they fall into the wrong hands, or if there are technical malfunctions, patriotic displays can go horribly wrong, sometimes with deadly consequences.

>> Read more trending news

Here are five instances that may give you second thoughts about setting off the explosives.

1. Devon Staples died instantly after he lit a fireworks mortar tube on his head. According to The Associated Press, he had been drinking at a party when he said we was going to do the stunt. His brother said he was just holding a lighter near the fireworks, and that they accidentally caught fire.

"Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid," Cody Staples told The New York Daily News. "He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh."

Staples was a former employee of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, The New York Daily News reported. He portrayed the character Gaston from "Beauty and the Beast."

2. Jason Pierre-Paul, a New York Giants defensive end, was hurt in 2015 while trying to light fireworks. According to a tweet by Adam Schefter, Pierre-Paul suffered burns on his palm and three fingers and may have nerve damage. Multiple tweets indicated that Pierre-Paul had a van full of fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration, NFL.com reported.

3. James Drake of Marion, Indiana, was killed when he went to check on an unexploded shell. According to WXIN, a firework did not go off when expected. It exploded when Drake went to check on it. He suffered extensive trauma to his face. He died after being taken to a local hospital.

4. Two children were injured in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 2015, WFXT reported. A group of children was apparently playing with fireworks that were left behind from a display when a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old were injured. The 9-year-old boy lost his hand.

"He looked really, really hurt," Kesina Gray told WFXT. "His entire hand was gone."

The younger boy might have been blinded, family members told WFXT. Both were burned on their hands and faces. 

5. Shells went into a crowd at a public display of fireworks in Colorado. According to NBC News, "two or three" fireworks shells malfunctioned, firing into the crowd during a show in Avon, Colorado in 2015. Nine people were treated for "minor abrasion burns" and released

"There was not a lot of room in between groups of people, so when it happened no one could really get up and run," Jane Imber told NBC News. "It was so scary."

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