Tips for Safe Independence Day Fireworks Celebrations

It’s the first July 4th since Pennsylvania relaxed its fireworks law in 2017. Here’s how to stay safe.

Photo by Diane Labombarbe/iStock

Fact: The colorful, explosive magic of fireworks is the best part of the Fourth of July. But every year, misuse and failure to follow safety precautions lead to serious injuries nationwide.

In 2017, more than 12,000 Americans suffered fireworks-related injuries, and eight people died as a result of nonprofessional fireworks-use mishaps, according to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Fireworks injuries are preventable. As the city gears up to collectively ooh and aah as we watch our national colors light up the sky, the state of Pennsylvania — which relaxed its fireworks law in 2017 — recommends the following tips to keep you and your loved ones (including pets!) safe during the holiday:

  • Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures of at least 1200 degrees.
  • Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of a fire.
  • Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before disposing of them to prevent trash fires.
  • Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol, or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency.

KidsHealth had some additional helpful tips:

  • Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Wear eye protection, and don’t carry fireworks in your pocket — the friction could set them off.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year.
  • Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
  • Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be very frightened or stressed by the Fourth of July and other big celebrations. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

For more suggestions on how to protect your pets during the holiday, check out this post.