They are exciting, colorful and very loud. They are fireworks, and you can find them at picnics, barbecues, celebrations, and of course, the biggest American holiday of the summer — Independence Day. Fireworks are also a leading cause of summer-related injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in "an estimated 8,700 injuries in hospital emergency rooms in 2012."
Please take a moment to read these important fireworks safety tips and share them with family members and friends who are thinking of making fireworks part of their summer celebrations.
- If you insist on lighting your own fireworks, make sure they are legal where you live.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place before using them.
- Always have a bucket of water, a working hose, or fire extinguisher nearby in the event of fire. But beware, not all fireworks respond to water, and water may actually spread the flame. Read the fireworks’ labels to see how to extinguish.
- Have an extra person in charge of water in the event a fire should break out.
- Never wear loose clothing when using fireworks.
- Do not allow children to play with or near fireworks.
- Stay far back from fireworks you have lit.
- Read the directions and warnings very carefully before lighting any fireworks. Never use fireworks that aren't labeled with instructions or warnings.
- Be extra careful when lighting fireworks in windy weather conditions.
- Light fireworks on a smooth flat surface away from flammable materials.
- If a firework does not light, do not stand over it or look inside it. Instead, use a hose to put it out with water and then get rid of it in a safe manner.
- Never light fireworks indoors or in other structures, such as carports or garages.
- Never light fireworks in areas with dry grass.
Of course, the best way to avoid sustaining firework injuries is to avoid using them altogether. With Independence Day, you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch professional fireworks shows in local communities. You can even watch the displays on TV — right from the comfort and safety of your couch.
Check out more information on firework safety with the U.S. Fire Administration.*
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.