The Fourth of July is often considered Americans’ prime holiday for shooting off fireworks of every shape and size, but the low explosive pyrotechnic devices are dangerous when handled improperly.
The Fayetteville Fire Marshal’s Office released the following recommendations to stay safe when engaging with fireworks:
- Proceed with caution
- Provide an open area with a minimum of 50 feet of clearance from buildings, spectators, vehicles and no overhanging foliage
- Discharge fireworks from a flat surface
- Have a working fire extinguisher and water hose on standby
- Don’t use fireworks if the item has been damaged or has been wet
- Read the label and instructions of each fireworks product
- Only use fireworks as intended; don’t try to alter them or combine them
- Don’t wear loose clothing or open-toe shoes
- Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix–just like having a designated driver, have a designated igniter
- If any person under 16 years of age is present while fireworks are discharged, an adult at least 21 years of age must supervise
More than 10,000 Americans are injured by fireworks each year, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission Statistics.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends these tips in addition:
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at another person.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Many of these injuries can be avoided by simply being cognizant of the situation.
“Just use common sense,” said Sgt. Tony Murphy of the Fayetteville Police Dept. “Don’t be holding fireworks in your hand. Don’t be shooting them at other people. Just use common sense, and I think everyone will be okay.”
Citizens can lawfully use fireworks from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 1, 2 and 3. On July 4, that range extends from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.