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fireworks safety

Planning to Celebrate?
Follow These 5 Tips for Fireworks Safety

A Fourth of July celebration is not complete without fireworks, but this year social distancing will force many of us to host backyard light shows in lieu of attending events with large displays. And while consumer fireworks tend to be smaller in size and power, the threat of an injury remains the same, so it’s important to keep fireworks safety top of mind as you plan out this year’s July 4 celebration.

How do you safely enjoy fireworks? Consider the following fireworks safety tips:

1. Research and obey local fireworks safety laws

Fireworks are responsible for roughly 12,000 injuries that require medical treatment and 18,500 fires annually, according to The National Safety Council. To no surprise, the majority of each of these occur in the weeks surrounding Independence Day. Ensure fireworks safety by researching local laws as many cities and states have regulations for buying and lighting off fireworks. In certain locations, you may not be permitted to shoot off fireworks in your backyard, so research local laws to prevent fines and increased fire hazard risk.

2. Designate a safe light-off space

When lighting off fireworks, designate a light-off space clear of any obstructions, such as buildings, trees, power lines and people. The light-off space should also include a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher in the event a fire does occur. When it comes to fireworks safety, it is always better to be prepared for the worst!

3. Protect yourself and your loved ones

Simple steps can be taken to physically protect you and your loved ones. We recommend you:

  • Maintain social distancing at least 6 feet apart from guests
  • Ensure those who handle fireworks are free of impairment and wearing protective eye gear (eye injuries account for roughly 15% of all fireworks injuries!)
  • Permit only a small number of individuals in the light-off space when the light show begins
  • Keep fireworks away from children and from pets

4. Follow proper firework lighting procedures

A general rule of thumb for fireworks safety is to only light one firework at a time as certain fireworks can flare up in a dangerous manner when combined. Keep a safe distance after lighting (i.e. maintain 6-foot social distancing), and never light fireworks from your hand or point them in the direction of a person, an animal, or a building. And if a firework does not go off, never attempt to relight it—the explosive “dud” may spontaneously ignite while you are handling it.

5. Dispose of fireworks appropriately

After a firework has been lit, it does not mean that it can just be disposed of in a garage bin. To ensure optimal fireworks safety and to minimize chances of a fire, all spent, unused, and dud fireworks should be soaked in water until they are saturated, wrapped in plastic to maintain moisture, and then thrown away.

Ultimately, it is best to leave firework shows to the professionals, but if you do choose to indulge in a show of your own, keep these fireworks safety tips in mind!

We’re here to help

For help safely disposing of flammables, combustibles, or hazardous or non-hazardous waste, contact the EnviroServe team for a free consultation.