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Firework Safety Tips

The time of year to celebrate America’s Independence is here, and for many, that means enjoying an exciting display of fireworks. While many large fireworks are illegal for consumers in Illinois and there are specific usage laws in Indiana, the reality is that these items, no matter how small, can pose a safety threat if used improperly. Practicing firework safety will help keep you and those around you safe from harm.

What Makes Fireworks so Dangerous?

The largest danger when it comes to fireworks is the element of fire. Improper use may result in severe burns to individuals, and causes roughly 18,500 fires every year. Not following proper safety rules may also result in injuries such as loss of fingers, eye injuries, and even death. Any professional-grade fireworks should be left to only those who are trained – and have the appropriate open space – to use them, and under no circumstances should any homemade fireworks ever be used. However, even small, legal items such as firecrackers and sparklers cause quite a few injuries every year and should be treated with caution.

Using Fireworks Safely

For ultimate safety, it is always best to leave the fireworks shows to the professionals, allowing you and your family to watch the show from a distance. If you still desire having some in your own backyard, here are some ways to keep the risk to a minimum:

  • Keep away from children. No younger children under any circumstance should have access to fireworks, including sparklers. While they seem fairly harmless, sparklers burn at close to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to actually melt certain metals, so they can easily ignite clothing or result in severe burns should they be touched or accidentally dropped on feet.
  • Do not use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The use of these substances can impair judgement and reaction time should an incident occur.
  • Purchase only legal fireworks and never make your own. Many dangerous explosive-type fireworks were banned in 1966, including M-80s, M100s, blockbusters and quarterpounders. Making your own also increases the risk of something going wrong and could be more dangerous than those made professionally.
  • Only use outdoors and be prepared for emergencies. Ensure there is water and a hose nearby in case something misfires and only use in open areas to avoid starting fires to surrounding buildings or vegetation.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when watching or launching fireworks. When watching, always be on alert in case something goes wrong. Keep a safe distance from the launch area at all times. When using fireworks, always keep them directed away from others and keep the launch area clear. Never hold them in your hand or point them at others.
  • Beware of pieces or used fireworks. Fireworks don’t always explode perfectly on the first attempt. Pieces that fall from the initial launch could still ignite if there is any powder remaining, and fireworks that have been used can still have unlaunched portions that can still explode if ignited. Always soak any fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing out to eliminate the risk of delayed explosion.
  • Keep pets safe. Many animals have sensitive ears and are easily frightened and stressed by fireworks. Keep pets indoors and to ensure they do not run off or become injured. If necessary, place the animal in a kennel within an area of your home that the pet is most comfortable and check on them often.

Unfortunately, even if you’re practicing fireworks safety, there’s still a risk of injury. In the event of any serious burn, eye or bodily injury, contact 911 or get to a hospital immediately. If anything occurs to the eye, do not try to flush it and do not touch the eye area to avoid making any potential injury worse.

If you or a loved one suffers a minor burn or non-emergency injury over the 4th of July holiday, stop into one of our convenient locations for treatment.