National Fireworks Safety Month occurs every June and runs through the Fourth of July to remind communities that setting off your own fireworks could be deadly. According to recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over one-quarter of fires started by fireworks were reported on the Fourth of July. Almost half of the fires reported on Independence Day were started by fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) even reported that in 2016 alone, an estimated 11,000 injuries were treated at hospitals due to fireworks-related injuries, mostly to the hands, fingers, head, face and ears. That's why it's so important to follow the advice of the NFPA: leave the fireworks to the professionals.
If you haven't purchased any fireworks for this year's events, consider watching the professional displays that occur in several places around your city. That way, your friends, family and pets can stay safe from any potential injuries. However, in the event that you insist on setting off your own display, read the following fireworks safety tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® first.
Obey your local laws.
If fireworks aren't legal to buy in your area, they are illegal for a reason. Do not set off your own display. Instead, let the experts impress you with their safe fireworks shows. If they are legal in your area and you choose to use them, do so safely with the rest of these tips in mind.
Read all directions and cautionary labels on the packaging.
Never light a firework without first reading its directions. Responsible usage is key to avoiding the burns, cuts, sprains, fractures or worse injuries associated with amateur fireworks. While you're examining the packaging, pay attention to warning labels, too. As a general rule, these explosive devices aren't intended for children to handle, and firework products typically recommend keeping pets safely inside and away from the show.
Only use fireworks outdoors.
Setting off a firework in your home is asking for a fire. If you choose to do this, you may potentially face fire and property damage, damage to your neighbor's property, city fines, increased risk of injury and even death. To avoid all these risks, only use fireworks outside in an open area. The space should be far away from buildings, vehicles, children and animals to keep everyone safe.
Do not use fireworks near dry grass or foliage.
The summer sun has a way of drying out grass, leaves and plants. If recent temperatures are especially scorching, take a close look at the area where you plan to launch the fireworks. We recommend performing this examination in daylight for a full, clear understanding of the area's risk of fire. If dry grass or foliage is found, do not light off your display there. These items will behave like kindling if touched by any stray sparks, putting you at risk of fire.
Do not set off fireworks near buildings.
A rogue firework could easily set a building on fire, shatter its windows, injure residents and much more. Respect your neighbors' properties by keeping your fireworks away from their homes and businesses. You should also keep fireworks away from power or gas lines, as these can ignite a fire upon impact. Instead, only use fireworks in a wide, open field that's free from any dried or otherwise combustible materials.
Keep a large bucket of water close by.
If things go awry, it's necessary to be prepared. During your fireworks show, make sure to always have a bucket of water, a hose or a fire extinguisher on hand. That way, if a fire starts, you can put out the flames immediately.
Firework Safety for Kids
The little ones are going to be excited when the fireworks come out, so help them enjoy the experience safely. Talk to them about the rules and explain clearly that fireworks can pose a real injury and fire risk. Reassure any youngsters that you're in charge and it's going to be fun and safe, but only if they follow some rules:
- No lighting fireworks.
- No playing near fireworks alone.
- Hold sparklers away from the body.
- Hold sparklers away from other people.
- No touching firework pieces on the ground after they explode.
- Tell an adult if one of the other kids breaks a rule.
Pet Fireworks Safety
It's tempting to invite your furry friends to the celebration, but it's best for them to be somewhere secure and out of harm's way. Keep them safe with these easy tips:
- Be sure your phone number is visible on a tag and keep your pets microchipped with updated information in case they do get scared and manage to run away.
- Prepare a cozy crate or room where you can close the door and know they're safe during fireworks.
- Play before the party. That way, they're ready to relax when it's time to create them.
- Tell any guests not to disturb your pets, their crate or their room. Put a sign on doors as a reminder.
- Consult your veterinarian if you need options to sedate your pets if you know they are high-strung.
If you choose to set off your own fireworks displays, do your part during National Fireworks Safety Month first. Read up on all the fireworks safety tips you should know before lighting off any fireworks to prevent the worst from happening. From the members of ServiceMaster Restore, we hope you have a fun, happy and safe Fourth of July!