The Fourth of July or Independence Day is synonymous with the United States of America and fireworks. Most people would agree that the holiday just doesn’t feel the same if there isn’t a firework show at the end of the night. While professional pyrotechnics are amazing, store-bought fireworks in your own backyard can be even more fun because you’re in charge of the entertainment. But that also means you need to be in charge of the safety measures.
How should you be careful while handling fireworks?
- Check local regulations: Before you plan a firework show in your own backyard for the 4th of July, check local regulations first. Many counties prohibit the use of any fireworks other than sparklers and non-explosive products like “charcoal snakes.” Do not risk a serious citation or even a fire hazard in your neighborhood by using fireworks unlawfully.
- Buy legal fireworks only: If you can use fireworks in your county or city, then make certain you only buy fireworks that are sold legally. Many firework roadside stands are not actually licensed to sell their products. The biggest issue is that the products they sell are unregulated and could be extremely dangerous, even if they seem like an everyday backyard firework. Be sure to never buy a firework sold in a plain brown bag, which is often how professional pyrotechnics are stored.
- Use adult supervision at all times: Children must not be allowed to light any firework on their own. Inform all children at your Independence Day party about firework dangers and what to do if a firework starts a fire. Also, supervise children who are holding sparklers, which burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns or ignite hair and clothing.
- Follow all instructions: Check all firework packaging directions before using them. There could be instructions about how to place the firework to allow it to ignite and discharge correctly. Instructions might also include information about how to store the firework, so look at the packaging immediately after buying it.
- Ready a hose: Backyard fireworks should only contain flammable substances that can be extinguished with water, so keep a garden hose on hand and with someone manning it. Thoroughly spray all the area before and after lighting each firework. You should also keep at least one water bucket handy to soak used fireworks. If you have a fire extinguisher, then bring that outside for emergency use as well.
- Keep a safe distance: Fireworks should only be lit a safe distance from all properties, trees, and people. Once a firework is lit, everyone should immediately move 15 to 20 feet away, or possibly more based on the firework’s instructions. Never hold a firework or place it anywhere on your body while it is lit. Before lighting any fireworks, secure all pets inside your property and provide a padded, quiet place for them to hide.
To learn more about firework safety this Fourth of July, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National Safety Council (NSC) websites. From everyone at Aizenman Law Group in Tulsa, we wish you and your family the happiest and safest summer!