How To Light Fireworks At Home – Without Getting Dead
Okay so it's a funny title, and hopefully it "hooked" you, but it's really no laughing matter. Fireworks are fun and iconic and beautiful and thrilling and it's undeniable that they're culturally important to Americans around this time of year. So yay, fireworks! Independence!Posted — Updated
Okay so it's a funny title, and hopefully it "hooked" you, but it's really no laughing matter. Fireworks are fun and iconic and beautiful and thrilling and it's undeniable that they're culturally important to Americans around this time of year. So yay, fireworks! Independence!
But fireworks are also dangerous, in a very real way. Thousands and thousands of people are injured every year (over 9,600 individuals from June 2010 to July 2011) with casualties including major burns, loss of fingers and limbs, and even decapitation. Yes, 4 people were killed by fireworks in the same time period mentioned above (June 2010 - July 2011).
So I hope you'll take your firecrackering very seriously. Should you abstain completely? Of course not! You know, baseball and apple pie and all that Americana goodness. Participate – but please do so consciously and carefully (and of course, soberly). Here's how to make sure your firework fiesta is a safe one:
Keep it legal. Buy only legal fireworks from licensed fireworks vendors. Use said fireworks according to the laws of your state. (I know, the illegal ones are so much cooler. They're also illegal for a reason.)
Adults only. Fireworks are, you know FIRE. Children should not participate in the lighting or operation of fireworks. This goes for sparklers too (I know, so sad).
Light fireworks in a clear, flat area free of debris or any other flammable material (including other fireworks!). Look up – make sure there are no overhead obstructions (like tall trees or telephone wires). Keep a filled bucket, a garden hose, or ideally a fire extinguisher nearby. Think ahead!
Always make sure your crowd is giving you enough space. This means a 20-40 feet berth, depending on the firework. Yes, that far. And if the wind is blowing, ask people to stand upwind. (But never light fireworks in high winds.) Read the directions and keep the spectators in a safe zone.
And now, Captain Obvious:
DO NOT EVER pick up, point, or throw a firework at another person.
DO NOT EVER attempt to "shoot" fireworks out of a container (other than a proper, professional launch tube of the correct make and size).