The Importance of Handling Fireworks Properly
Fireworks are part of many American families’ Fourth of July traditions, but knowing how and when to handle them should be one as well. Here are a few preventive measures to take to help make your holiday memorable and safe.
1) Avoid illegal products
Whether buying fireworks for a family reunion, or just a small weekend cookout, it’s important to realize the difference between legal and illegal fireworks, according to The National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS).
While some may knowingly purchase illegal items such as M-80s, M-100s or blockbusters, these are federally banned explosives which can cause serious harm. The NCFS warns using such items could cause death or result in legal ramifications. These fireworks have been banned since the mid-1960s.
2) Keep fireworks away from kids and pets
Young children should never, under any circumstances, be allowed to handle fireworks, according to the NCFS. Also, homemade fireworks can cause severe injury or even death. Creating these devices can be compared to mixing homemade bombs.
Keep pets away from fireworks too; animals tend to have much more sensitive ears than humans. The NCFS says loud explosions could permanently damage their hearing.
3) Buy from a valid distributor
When purchasing fireworks for personal use, buy them from a reliable seller and only purchase products which have clear labels. The lack of professional packaging could mean they are homemade and potentially life threatening, the council warns.
4) Be safe when handling them
Fireworks used inside of a home or screened-in porch could ignite a fire and possibly cause severe structural damage. A hose should be within easy reach of the explosives at all times in the event of an emergency. The time it takes to get to a water supply could be the difference between a small burn and a life-threatening injury. It’s also useful to keep first aid supplies close.
If a firework does not go off, spray it down or put it in a bucket and move on, the council urges. What may seem like a dud at first could wind up going off in someone’s hand. Do not aim or throw fireworks at people. Certain shooting and flying devices could easily hit a person in the eye or land on their head.
And finally, never stand over a firework when lighting it, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission warns. As soon as a device is lit, immediately step away.
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