We love Independence Day. The cook-outs, the family gatherings, the food, and especially the fireworks celebrating our country's birth are things every American looks forward to! But did you know that fireworks cause nearly 20,000 fires every year? And if someone asked, do you really know the best practices for fireworks safety? Well we've got you covered! With the Fourth of July right around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to review firework safety. Here are the best ways to enjoy your Fourth of July fireworks safely so we can all have fun!
Obey the law
Your city or county more than likely has laws regarding fireworks. Many major cities don't allow fireworks within city limits without special permits. Refer to your local law enforcement agencies for more information.
Fireworks may also be banned if you are under a drought warning or fire ban. It is summer, and many areas are more likely to be dry. If it hasn't rained in your area, check to see if your area has a fire ban in place.
A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Children should never handle fireworks.
Adults should also protect themselves:
Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
Light them one at a time and quickly move away.
Save your libations for after the fireworks; fireworks and alcohol never mix.
Proper handling and disposal
Only light fireworks if you have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water and/or a charged hose (tap on, hose off) ready.
Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
Don't shoot fireworks into metal or glass containers. The containers themselves could explode and send out shrapnel.
Never try to relight a dud. Just because your firework didn't go off doesn't mean it's not dangerous. Wait 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water. Don't remove it until it is completely saturated. Then you can dispose of it.
Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down. Then place them in metal trash can away from buildings or combustible materials until the next day.
When in doubt, call your local fire department's non-emergency line for assistance.
Don't bring pets to a fireworks display, and don't ignite fireworks near your pet.
Make sure your pet has a current identification tag in case it gets scared and runs off.
If you know your pet is afraid of fireworks, make sure they are in a safe, interior room of your home. Try to move your pet into the room before sundown, when most fireworks will begin.
Respect your neighbors
On Independence Day, as we celebrate our freedom, also be mindful of those that defend our freedoms. Some veterans' PTSD is triggered by the sounds of fireworks. Help honor those who have served by not using fireworks if they've requested you don't.
As Texans, we at Leigh Country believe in Southern Hospitality. We believe informing your neighbors of your intentions to shoot fireworks is the courteous thing to do.
If everyone gives the ok to your fireworks, invite them out to join the festivities!
All-in-all, use common sense, be safe, and enjoy your holiday!
h/t: The National Council on Fireworks Safety