If you’re like me, you love this time of the year. The weather is warmer, friends and family get to enjoy the outdoors. On most evenings in my neighborhood you can smell the happiness from the grills. Some nights it’s hamburgers and hotdogs, others it’s steak. This is the time of year when children have no worries, just fun times with their friends and no fear of school tomorrow. It’s also the time of year when we begin to hear the inevitable bang and pop coming from some distant house. We know what that noise is, the pre 4th of July firework shows.
As a kid I remember me and my friends enjoying bottle rockets, black cats, and the random M80. We were out at all hours; I’m sure making sleep difficult for all my poor neighbors. Looking back on it, I realize how lucky we were. In all my years of messing with fireworks, not one of my friends was ever injured. Not a minor injury, and thankfully not a major injury. Unfortunately, we did set a few fires, destroying a bush here and there. I consider myself very lucky that there was not any major “incident” that follows me today. For others though, they aren’t so lucky.
According to national reports, in 2017 alone there were 8 fatalities and almost 13,000 injuries that required medical attention due to fireworks. The 4th of July is a special for us in America, most of us will spend the evening staring at the skies, enjoying the shows put on by our local communities. But the 4th is not the only night for fireworks, 67% of the injuries occurred from June 16th, 2017 – July 16th, 2017. We usually start having a significant increase in nightly fireworks a couple of weeks prior to the actual holiday and this is the problem.
The shows on the 4th of July are professional and are accompanied by fireman. The shows that are put on in the neighborhoods are usually not. Additionally, depending on the laws where you are, the fireworks are probably illegal. Colorado, where I’m from, does not allow the use of any firework that explode or are intended to leave the ground. I love firework shows, I love the 4th of July, and I enjoy having fun with my friends and family. But when it comes to fireworks, I recommend leaving it to the professionals. But if you are going to use fireworks, here are some recommended safety tips:
- Check your local laws to see what you can and cannot legally use
- Avoid drugs and alcohol if you’re going to set off fireworks.
- Wear safety glasses
- If you’re going to allow children to use fireworks, it should only be done under close adult supervision.
- Do not light them near house, people, or other things that could possibly ignite.
- Never light them indoors.
- Stay away from “duds”. Do not pick up or handle fireworks that don’t explode.
- Keep a hose, extinguisher, or bucket of water close by in case of an accidental fire.
I know some people will be setting off fireworks this year that shouldn’t be. I personally recommend that you sit back and enjoy the show put on by your local community. If you still want to use fireworks and you’re going to have your own show for the neighborhood, then please do it safely.