As the July 4th holiday approaches, many of you are busy planning parties to turn your homes into the area’s “Must See” fireworks show for friends and family. While this can certainly be a fun mid-summer celebration, it’s important to put safety on the top of your list.
Before you start your personal fireworks show, be sure to do the following:
1. Have a big bucket of water on hand (see below for further instructions). If you have a large crowd with lots of fireworks, have two large buckets of water on hand.
2. Have your cell phone handy, and fully charged, in case you need to place an emergency call.
3. If you have long hair, you may want to tie it back or fold it into a hat so it doesn’t become part of the show. Do the same for all the children present and maybe provide your guests with hats or something to tie their hair back too.
4. Make sure your pet(s) are safe inside BEFORE you light fireworks. Pets and fireworks don’t mix well and many studies have shown they can become traumatized by the experience. Even the “bravest” dogs and cats can become so frightened by fireworks they may run away or run into a street with traffic. Pets also sometimes confuse fireworks for toys and this can be extremely dangerous if they run in to play with them as they are being lit.
Once your fireworks show is underway, be sure to practice the following safety precautions:
1. Never attempt to relight a dud firework, i.e. one that failed to go off the first time. The safest way to handle a dud is to wait twenty to thirty minutes and then drop it into your large bucket of water to make sure it goes out completely. It’s best to use garden gloves when you do this.
2. After waiting thirty minutes, using your garden gloves, place the remnants of all your fireworks into your bucket of water.
3. Never let young children light fireworks. If they are old enough, it’s still important to monitor them at all times and carefully teach them how to do so responsibly.
4. If alcohol will be at your party, it’s usually a good idea to keep those drinking away from the lighting ceremonies.
5. It’s a good idea to wear safety glasses or goggles when lighting fireworks. In fact, even if you wear eyeglasses, it is a good idea to use goggles with polycarbonate lenses as normal eyeglasses won’t provide enough protection if a firecracker explodes near the face. It’s ironic that something so dazzling to the eye can also cause you to go blind (or worse) for life.
Never underestimate the need to practice 4th of July safety precautions. The busiest night of the year for most emergency rooms is July 4 through early morning hours of July 5. Fireworks can be loads of fun, but they’re also very dangerous if mishandled. Thousands of people have lost their hands, lost their vision, or been injured in some way mishandling fireworks. When it comes to fireworks safety, you don’t always get a second chance to get it right.
We wish everyone a great 4th of July and please stay safe!
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