Fireworks Safety

Fireworks can be pretty and fun, but getting hurt isn’t. Every year thousands of people are taken to the hospital emergency rooms in the United States because of injuries from fireworks. The most common injuries involve hands, fingers, eyes, the head, and face. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “In 2008, about 7,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. People ranging from 15-19 years old had the highest per capital injury rate among all age groups”.,

Before you buy any fireworks, check your local laws and make sure that they’re legal where you live. For example, Massachusetts (along with Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) has a ban on ALL consumer fireworks. Other states allow some (but not all) types of fireworks. Although fireworks are banned in Massachusetts I know that some people still get them. However, if you’re caught, you’ll lose both your money and your fireworks, because illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.

When dealing with fireworks, please keep in mind both your safety and the safety of others.

If fireworks are legal where you live, follow these tips:

  • Find out about your local fireworks laws and observe them.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Store fireworks away from heat or sun exposure.
  • Follow the exact directions that come with any store bought fireworks.
  • Don’t allow small children to go near or light fireworks (even sparklers), because they burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing.
  • Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event because some can ignite and explode at any time.
  • Don’t get close to or attempt to relight fireworks that have malfunctioned.
  • Stand back and soak them with a hose or a bucket of water to prevent them from exploding at anytime.
  • Never stand directly over fireworks while lighting.
  • Light one firework at a time.
  • NEVER light fireworks in a metal or glass container.
  • Avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket because the friction could set them off.
  • Point fireworks away from homes, people, and things that can easily catch on fire (such as dry leaves, paper, and other flammable materials).
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies, and soak used fireworks in water before throwing them in the trash.
  • In reality, the best way to protect yourself and those around you from fireworks is to watch them from a distance.
  • Attend a public fireworks display and leave the lighting to the professionals.

If you’re in the Boston area, see the fireworks display at the Charles River on July 4th at 10:30pm.

For more information about firework safety, check out the following links:
CSPC Fireworks Fact Sheet
TeensHealth Fireworks Safety Article