Americana Week: Fireworks Safety
It’s that time of year again! Cookouts, swimming pools, watermelon themed treats and celebrating our independence. Yes, folks, it’s the 4th of July. Everyone has their own tradition for this holiday. Some people travel and go see their family and friends. Some stay at home and cook out. Some like to go outside and watch the people playing with fireworks. And waiting to see if that bottle, they stuck in the ground is going to make it the entire time.
Maybe that’s just me.
The 4th of July brings with it a very real sense of nostalgia for me. When I was a kid, we always went to the fireworks tent and bought sparklers and Catherine wheels and bottle rockets. My favorites were the black cat bottle rockets and the whistlers.
Those were the ones that flew really fast and then popped or whistled. They would scare me every time and my dad would just laugh at me. I think he enjoyed scaring me sometimes. I loved the sparklers and I can still remember the smell that they had mixed in with the super strong mosquito repellant that we all had to wear. (It’s a long running joke that the Arkansas state bird shouldn’t be the mockingbird, but the mosquito.)
It was all fun and games back then. As a mom, it worries me for my kids to be near those things. I understand how quickly things can go terribly wrong. It’s not something that I want to see happen to anyone.
In 2017, there were 8 deaths involving fireworks and nearly 13,000 injuries that were reported to emergency medical facilities. Of those injuries, 28% were from sparklers. It’s amazing to me to think that that many people got hurt with just a sparkler. I imagine most of them were children.
So, I want you and your family to be safe this holiday.
Fireworks Safety Tips
- Don’t buy the fireworks that are packaged in brown paper.
- Always have adult supervision.
- Always back up to a safe distance after lighting a firework.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water handy.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass.
- Don’t try to re-light or pick up fireworks that didn’t ignite correctly.
- Never cover a firework with your hands or face.
- Make sure its legal to have them before buying or using them.
These are for professional displays only. Many times, these are called “cakes" and you can buy them, but they have a lot more firepower than what you would need for an at home celebration. Cakes usually have multiple “shots" and is usually lit with a single fuse.
Unless you stand there and count the shots as they come out, you don’t know for sure when it’s going to be done. Another problem with this type of firework is that unless they are secured properly, they can tip over and point in directions that you didn’t mean for them to.
My husband’s family usually goes all out with the fireworks. (There are several male cousins that are all around the same age. The egging on commences early in the day.) One year one of the cousins brought in a huge cake. We were shooting them off in a field that had been allowed to be dormant that year.
He set it up and lit the fuse and ran back to where the rest of us were. The first 5 shots were fine. Beautiful even. Then it tipped over and started firing in the direction of the barn. Not good. These things are made for the pros or for people who have been trained to use them. Unless you are trained, leave them there.
This one seems like a “not duh", but let’s just make sure everyone is on board. I have two kids that are 9 years apart. My oldest one likes to do things by herself. Some things it’s ok for that to be the case. Others? Not so much. Fireworks falls into that second category. Fixing coffee? Yes, ma’am please.
This isn’t just for safety reasons. Before you discard the trash from your mini fireworks show, be sure to douse it with water. Remember, this is all made from stuff that is supposed to burn. It’s literally doing its one job. Just give it a good bath before you throw it all away.
I don’t think my dad every heard this one. I was lighting bottle rockets at way too young of an age.
The pockets part of that is fairly obvious, but the bottles and metal might need some explaining. Remember what I said earlier about watching to see how long the bottles were going to last? Yeah. Glass shatters in extreme temperature changes. One minute the glass is pleasantly warm and the next it’s flaming hot with a firework shooting out of it.
You did that about half a dozen times, and you’ve got yourself a mini bomb. And you don’t know when the timer is going to blow. When that glass shatters its going to go everywhere very quickly.
Something that most people don’t know is that metal shares a lot of the same properties as glass when it comes to temperature fluctuations. My husband is a welder and he has taught me a bit over the years. Metal doesn’t like to be heated up and cooled off rapidly. It likes to be handled slowly. It will shatter just like glass. Find something else to stick the rockets in.
Even if you think it was a dud or something went wrong in the manufacturing process, leave it. There are still going to be dangerous, highly flammable chemicals in the fireworks that could ignite and cause all kinds of problems.
They sometimes flare up when you are lighting them, so anything that is close to them is going to get caught in the flare up. Make sure that you keep all of the flammable stuff out of the way. Like you know, YOU.
Where we live it is illegal to have personal fireworks in city limits. The county is more of a nuisance thing. If you are just having some fun with the kids, they usually don’t bother you. Check with your local police department or sheriff’s department before going all whole hog with the fireworks.
Here at Nelson Design Group, we want you and your family to have a great and SAFE 4th of July celebration. Enjoy your long weekend!
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