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How To Handle Fireworks Safely

Warm weather generally translates to more time spent outdoors. That means more barbecues, days spent poolside, trips to the beach, and even camping excursions. This time of year also inspires people to celebrate. What better way to signal the party has started than with fireworks?

Fireworks traditionally are part of large celebrations, such as national holidays or grand opening events. Many individuals also take it on themselves to set off fireworks during block parties or other neighborhood gatherings. Though fireworks are awe-inspiring, they’re also dangerous, which is why it’s best to leave them to the professionals.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that fireworks-related injuries and deaths in the United States have risen by roughly 25 percent in the last 15 years. In 2021, nine people died in accidents involving fireworks, and 11,500 were injured.

“The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays,” said Alex Hoeh-Saric, chair of the CPSC.

Three-quarters of fireworks injuries occur the weeks before and following the July 4th holiday in the United States. The Canadian Government indicates two-thirds of all fireworks-related injuries in Canada occur between May and August, with nearly one-third happening on days surrounding Victoria Day and Canada Day.

Fireworks can injure any part of the body, but burns to the hands and fingers, trunk, and arms are the most commonly affected areas. Injuries to the eyes, including blindness, also may occur.

Sparklers are not necessarily safe, either. The CPSC reports that 1,100 injuries result from sparklers each year.

As fireworks become widely available, it’s imperative that individuals follow these crucial safety tips when using them.

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite any type of firework, including sparklers.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to extinguish fires or sparks.
  • Only buy and use fireworks if they are legal.
  • Light fireworks one at a time in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Choose a field or area free from trees and other obstructions, far away from spectators to light fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Never point or fire fireworks in the direction of other people.
  • Do not place any part of the body directly over fireworks when lighting a fuse.

Fireworks can be beautiful, but are best left to the professionals.

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