Fourth of July celebrations this summer are going to be the first time many families, friends, and communities will be getting together in almost two years to celebrate our Nation’s Independence. The pandemic caused the cancellation of most Fourth of July celebrations and events in 2020. For many of us, the Fourth of July reminds us of grilling, watermelon, flags, summer sun, and fireworks, but the misuse of fireworks can lead to serious injuries. Please keep fireworks safety at the forefront.
According to the CPSC’s 2019 Annual Report, an estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments between June 21, 2019, and July 21, 2019. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 36 percent of the estimated fireworks-related injuries and nearly 50 percent were to individuals younger than 20 years of age.¹
The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends these safety tips:
- Obey local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks: read the cautionary labels before igniting.
- A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place them in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- FAA regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.²
Enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends and make firework safety a priority!
Submitted by Melissa A Olheiser, OECS
¹ CPSC 2019 Fireworks Annual Report June 2019
² National Council on Fireworks Safety, https://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips/