One of the most exciting ways to celebrate special holidays is with fireworks. Whether you're at a party, enjoying a neighborhood celebration, or going to a park where you or others will be lighting fireworks, you need to be mindful of manners and safety.
Before purchasing fireworks for personal use, read the instructions and choose a location that is safest. Give explicit safety instructions to all children who will be present.
With a large variety of spectacular shows sponsored by municipalities, counties, and other agencies, you don’t even have to get your hands dirty or worry about the risks involved with personal fireworks. However, if you choose to purchase firecrackers, sparklers, and other explosive items, spend some time learning about safety and proper etiquette.
More important than anything, you should put safety first when using any kind of fireworks. Don’t forget that with anything involving fire and an accelerant, you run the risk of personal injury and property damage.
Here are some safety precautions to follow when using fireworks:
- Don’t drink alcohol and handle any kind of fireworks. You should be in total control at all times.
- Purchase fireworks from a licensed dealer, not some fly-by-night place.
- Read the labels and follow the directions of all products you use before you use them.
- Only light one firework at a time. As soon as it’s lit, back away.
- Only use fireworks outdoors, never in a car, building, or shed.
- Point all fireworks away from people, pets, cars, and buildings.
- Wear goggles to prevent eye injury.
- Don’t put fireworks in your pocket or handbag. Just the slightest amount of friction can set them off and cause serious injury.
- If one of your fireworks fizzles out quickly, don’t try to light it later. Dispose of it immediately.
- Have a hose or bucket of water handy before you light fireworks, in case of emergency.
- Before you dispose of fireworks, used or unused, immerse them in water and put them in a metal container.
- Never try to bring any type of fireworks on a plane, train, bus, or any type of public transportation.
Use Fireworks Responsibly
Keep in mind that if you use or watch fireworks, you need to do it responsibly. Not only do you have safety concerns they make quite a bit of noise and leave debris, so you should be good citizens and think about how your celebration affects others.
Children and Fireworks
You should keep small children a safe distance from fireworks. Many parents think that sparklers are safe, but they aren’t. Tens of thousands of people are injured annually by personal fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers.
Quite a few children end their celebrations at the emergency room because of sparks hitting their eyes or singeing their clothing. Before exposing children to anything involving fireworks, spend some time teaching them safety and how to behave.
Etiquette Tips for Using Fireworks
Always follow proper etiquette when participating in anything related to fireworks, whether it’s at a show with professionals lighting them or you’re popping them with the neighbors. Using fireworks is a privilege, not a right, so you should make sure you don’t abuse it.
Here are some etiquette rules you should follow when using fireworks:
- Check the laws in your city or county before using fireworks. Most places that allow fireworks will have specific days and times when it’s legal to use them.
- End your fireworks at a decent hour. It’s rude to make too much noise in the wee hours of the night, even if it is the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve.
- Only use the fireworks on the day of celebration. If you have some left over, dispose of them and resist the urge to get your money’s worth by popping firecrackers days later.
- Never point fireworks at someone. Always point them away from people. Don’t even joke around about it because the celebration will cease to be fun for others when they feel unsafe.
- Don’t take personal fireworks to an event where there will be a public display. You can’t compete with the professionals, and if you try, you’ll ruin the show for everyone else.
- If your neighbors have small children or pets, let them know about your intentions to use fireworks so they can be prepared for the noise.
- Pick up all the debris left behind by fireworks. This includes matches, lighters, papers, and spent firecrackers. You shouldn’t expect anyone else to clean up your mess.
- Keep an eye on your children when you attend a public fireworks display. You don’t want them to get lost or frightened if they can’t find you.
- Be extra careful if your area is experiencing drought conditions. Dry grass is highly flammable and can cause a disaster if you’re careless.
- Show respect for property. Don’t put fireworks into enclosed spaces like mailboxes, cans, manholes, or small tunnels.
You'll have a much more enjoyable celebration if you follow all of these tips. And you'll save yourself and others around you from having to make an unfortunate trip to the emergency room.