Protect yourself and loved ones from injury by knowing how to launch fireworks safely.
: Fireworks can be incredibly dangerous. Never let kids play with or light fireworks.
Step 1: Make sure it’s legal Make sure that setting off fireworks is legal in your area. Your local police precinct or firehouse will be able to tell you.
Step 2: Buy only legitimate fireworks Buy only legal fireworks from a reputable manufacturer. Legitimate fireworks will contain an item number, brand name, and instructions.
TIP: M-80s, M-100s, blockbusters, quarter pounders, and cherry bombs are not fireworks; they are illegal explosives.
Step 3: Keep away from children Keep children and pets out of range at all times to protect them and their hearing—and to make sure animals don’t get scared and bolt.
Step 4: Pick a safe spot Pick a safe spot to set off your display, meaning an open space with a flat, solid, level surface. It should be at least 30 feet away from people, homes, cars, and flammable materials like dry brush. Don’t set off fireworks in strong winds.
Step 5: Light them from a distance Keep at a safe distance when you light fireworks by using a butane stove lighter, extra long matches, or a punk lighter, which is a smoldering slow-burning stick. Hold the lighter at arm’s length, and don’t hover over the device as you light it.
: Never set off fireworks in a container.
Step 6: Set off one at a time Set off fireworks one at a time. Eye protection is strongly recommended.
Step 7: Stay away from duds Don’t try to reignite a firework that doesn’t go off. Leave it alone for at least 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
TIP: Keep a garden hose, a pail of water, or a fire extinguisher nearby in case you need to put out flames.
Step 8: Don’t throw fireworks Do we even have to say it? Never throw fireworks or direct them toward anyone. Don’t light them in your hand—and don’t carry them in your pocket, either!
Step 9: Know how to handle an emergency If your clothing catches fire, drop to the floor and roll on the ground. If you get something in your eye, don’t touch, rub, or rinse it. Just head straight for the emergency room.
Step 10: Dispose of debris safely When the fun is done, gather up all the firework debris and give it a good soaking before putting in a trash container.
FACT: Between 9,000 and 10,000 people are taken to the hospital each year for fireworks-related injuries, with nearly half of the victims under the age of 15.