Wellness Matters

Know These 10 Fireworks Safety Rules

July 01, 2015

For many Americans, Fourth of July celebrations wouldn’t be the same without backyard fireworks. Unfortunately, the added spark to the festivities can come at a high price.

Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries caused by firecrackers, stick rockets, roman candles and other products that fall under the category of commercial fireworks.

The safest course is to skip your own fireworks celebration and look for a community event put on by trained experts. But if you do plan to light up the night, remember these basic safety rules:

1. Read the label first. Know how to light your fireworks safely and what to expect from each device.

2. No alcohol allowed. Never mix fireworks and alcohol. The person handling the fireworks should always stay sober, at least until the show is over.

3. Adult supervision required. Never allow young children and teens to handle or ignite fireworks, and supervise older teens carefully.

4. Take it outside. Fireworks should only be used outdoors.


5. Stand up straight. Only light fireworks from a standing position.


6. Singles only. Never light two devices at the same time.


7. Douse the flame. Have a water hose nearby in case of fire. Put used fireworks in water before adding them to your outdoor trash can.


8. Don’t touch hot surfaces. Remember that the wire and stick remain hot long after the flame is out.


9. Protect your eyes. Wear eye protection every time you use any type of fireworks.


10. A dud is a dud. Don’t try to re-light a device that doesn’t work. Let it cool off and throw it away.


What’s legal?

North Carolina allows some fireworks and not others. Local municipalities can also have their own fireworks regulations. Contact your local fire department or law enforcement agency to find out what is allowed in your area before you purchase and use any type of commercial fireworks.

Video

 Leigha Shepler appeared on Fox 8 House Call to talk about this topic.

About the Author

Leigha Jordan is  Injury Prevention Coordinator with the Cone Health Trauma Dept. and Safe Guilford.

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