Barbecues, parades and fireworks displays are all synonymous with fourth of July fun. After all, would it really feel like the 4th of July without a good fireworks show? If you’re not going to a professional show and are planning to fire them off from your own backyard or other location instead, it’s important to plan ahead and take extra safety precautions to avoid hazards. Fireworks hold a high risk for serious burns, fires and eye injuries. Use the following firework safety tips to help prevent yourself, family members and friends from getting hurt.
Purchase fireworks legally
Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions. Often, illegal fireworks are unlabeled. Fireworks that are packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays. Be responsible and avoid buying these.
Never let children handle fireworks, even sparklers
Though they might not seem very dangerous, sparklers burn extremely hot. In fact, sparklers can reach temperatures of 1800 degrees and easily ignite clothing. Teach them firework safety early and keep a close eye on children at any events where people are lighting fireworks. Let your young children use glow sticks instead. They can be just as fun.
Never re-light a “dud” firework
Wait at least 20 minutes before handling a “dud” that didn’t go off and then douse it with water and let it sit for another 20 minutes. After this period of time, submerge the firework in water and allow it to soak. Once the firework is completely soaked it is safe to dispose.
Keep your pets inside
Consider your pets when you’re planning to shoot off fireworks. If you have a pet that may chase a fast, moving target or a pet that will be frightened, put them in the house to keep them safe.
Have fire extinguishers or hoses ready
Have a hose, buckets of water or a fire extinguisher nearby. When using fireworks, delegate one person the duty of operating the water or fire extinguisher should something go wrong.
Use fireworks in clear, open areas
Part of practicing firework safety is making sure the area you’re using to ignite fireworks is clear of any obstructions. Also, avoid using fireworks in areas of dry, potentially flammable grass, wood or debris. It’s also a good idea to monitor your state’s wildfire warning and ensure there isn’t a fire weather watch in effect. These types of warnings occur during extended periods of dry weather and higher-than-average wind speeds. For more information on wildfire warnings, refer to the USDA Forest Service.
Store and dispose of fireworks safely
Do not store fireworks for extended periods of time and use them as soon after purchase as possible. When storing fireworks, keep them in a cool, dry place.
Once a firework is used, it should be allowed to rest for 15-20 minutes. Once this period of time is over, it should be placed in a bucket of water to soak thoroughly. After the rest period and soak period they can be safely disposed of in a regular trashcan.
Keep your distance
After you’ve lit a firework, it’s important to stand a safe distance away. Do not lean over fireworks or stand too closely. This is important because fireworks can sometimes malfunction, resulting in a delayed launch. It’s recommended that all spectators keep a safe distance of 30 feet from all fountain style fireworks or anything that emits sparks. For aerial fireworks, like mortars or bottle rockets, a distance of 100 yards away is recommended.
The best fireworks safety tip? Leave it to the professionals
If you can, attend a professional firework show instead of putting one on yourself. Professional shows are impressive and use pyrotechnics that you can’t buy in stores. Professionals also know exactly what fireworks safety tips to observe and what needs to happen to keep people safe.
Protect Your Home with Farm Bureau Insurance
4th of July fun brings the promise of fun, family, friends and fireworks. No matter what you decide to do, know the basics of firework safety. Keep everyone safe and happy, including your home. Learn more about how you can protect your home beyond fireworks safety with homeowners insurance today!