Stay safe while having a blast: Firework safety tips
Summer is here and Independence Day is upon us. It’s a great time to celebrate with family and friends and see fireworks.
But as an emergency physician, Brad Uren, M.D., sees plenty of fireworks injuries each year that could easily be avoided.
Remind yourself of the proper, and safe, ways to use fireworks before setting off your show with these quick tips from Dr. Uren:
Buy your fireworks from a reputable source
Don’t buy fireworks that aren’t clearly labeled and packaged. Fireworks should have clear safety instructions on them. Buying from a reputable source can also decrease your chances of purchasing fireworks that have been tampered with or altered.
Keep your lighting area clear
Make sure spectators are a safe distance away from the spot you intend to light the fireworks. It’s also smart to check the area for anything flammable that may be easily ignited by a stray spark.
Follow the instructions
Each firework has certain lighting requirements. Reading the instructions can minimize your chances of starting a fire or injuring yourself.
Have a way to put out small fires or duds
It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher and bucket of water nearby should one of your fireworks create a small fire or simply not light properly.
Never relight a malfunctioning firework
Consider that firework a loss! Your safety and life are not worth trying to relight a firework that may not be functioning properly and could self-combust.
Don’t look into a dud
If a firework doesn’t seem to ignite or shoot off properly, don’t mess with it. Many people are injured when looking into a firework to see what’s wrong and then it happens to explode. Leave the dud alone, and at the end of the night safely spray it with water from a distance to make sure any stray flames are suppressed.
Remember: Sparklers are not a safer choice
Parents tend to think sparklers are a fun and safer way for children to enjoy the holiday, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sparklers are essentially an open flame and burn at an extremely high temperature. Add in young children running around with one in their hand and the possibility of injuries skyrockets.
Consider leaving it to the pros
I know, I know. Putting on your own fireworks show sounds like so much fun. But the safest and easiest way to avoid injuring yourself or someone else is to simply go and watch the professionals. Grab your lawn chairs and enjoy!