While a majority of injuries and damage caused by fireworks take place during summer celebrations, it's important to practice firework safety all year long.
In 2015, approximately 285.3 million pounds of fireworks were used. Of that, 260.7 million pounds were used by everyday people. In other words, more than 90% of fireworks used in 2015 were by non-professionals. Since fireworks usage is rather common, safety can often be overlooked.
When a firework explodes, the heat released can be upwards of 1800 degrees F. This extreme heat can easily cause fires. In 2017, an estimated 18,500 fires were started from firework use causing roughly $43 million in property damage. What’s even scarier is approximately 12,900 people had firework related injuries in 2017 with 36% of injuries to children younger than 15 years old.
If the proper precautions are taken, fireworks can be set off safely. However, there are many mishaps that can put viewers in danger. Fireworks can tip over and fire at people and buildings or fail to shoot into the sky and instead explode at ground level.
Here are some safety precautions to decrease your chance of injury:
Choose a clear area with no trees overhead and open space on all sides before shooting off fireworks.
Use long fuses so that you have time to move away from fireworks before they go off.
Never stand over the firework after lighting.
If the firework stops firing before it is finished, do not attempt to relight it as it could still fire unexpectedly and hurt you.
Position viewers far enough away from fireworks so that ground explosions will not harm them.
Keep water or a hose nearby to put out any possible fire.
Fireworks can be a great capper to a night and make for memorable moments, but they can also severely hurt you and damage property. If you decide to shoot off fireworks, make sure you take the necessary precautions so that you don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk.