As we near the end of June and much of the United States begins to open again, many of us are looking forward to spending time with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July. As exciting as you may be for Independence Day, it’s important not to throw caution to the wind. Especially because the global pandemic has cancelled some normal vacation plans, even more people than usual are planning to celebrate at home. However, the holiday comes with a major hazard which could damage your property and injure your loved ones. Fireworks.
Normally, watching a firework show hosted by professionals keeps you some distance away from them. This would be the safest, most ideal option, but with events, travel and gatherings being cancelled, many will resort to creating an at-home display.
If you choose to use fireworks, do not let children light or handle them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly half of fireworks-related incidents occur to children under age 15. Even “simple” fireworks like sparklers account for 25 percent of emergency room visits due to fireworks. When handling fireworks, a responsible adult should protect themselves by wearing safety glasses and only lighting one firework at a time. Using only one at a time helps with ensuring they go off in a safe direction, away from your home, outdoor structures, tree limbs, neighbors, etc. Keep in mind we are in the hottest and driest part of the year in some regions in the U.S. This creates another possible fire exposure. Be smart and use common sense before lighting up! All that being said, it’s also advised to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case.
When you’re finished with your fireworks display, let any used fireworks cool off for 20-25 minutes, then submerge them in water, drain, place in a plastic bag and dispose in an outdoor trash can. Any unused fireworks should be stored safely, away from heat sources.
Not only do fireworks pose a threat to your loved ones, but also your home (and your neighbors!). Fourth of July fireworks alone account for roughly half of all housefires. The risk to your property is high, but the damage may not even be covered by your homeowners or renter’s insurance, especially if they are considered illegal. Risk management professionals will often suggest you use glow sticks or noisemakers instead.