We are rapidly approaching that time of year when we wish America a Happy Birthday. One would be hard pressed to find a single American who doesn’t have fond memories of the Fourth of July. The excitement, the music, the baseball games, the family picnic … oh yeah, AND the fireworks. Their sheer beauty alone makes the day worth it. It is all fun and games. Well mostly.
Anything with the word “Fire” in its name should command attention and respect. As you approach the holiday, consider this:
- Before you do anything, check the law to see if home use fireworks are legal in your state. Or even your city. Many large metropolitan suburbs have varying laws between cities and you can be fined for violation of illegal fireworks. There are many good reasons for these laws. For one, they are a safety risk that many people underestimate. In drought ridden areas of the country, they present a real fire threat to homes and lives and the environment.
- If you do live in an area where home fireworks are legal, remember that this is primarily an adult activity. Children love the lights and sounds of fireworks but should not be allowed to utilize fireworks without close adult supervision. Even fun things like sparklers can present a threat to safety. Hot metal wire on gentle children’s skin just doesn’t mesh well. Sparklers can get as hot as 1800 degrees … enough temperature to melt gold.
- Always make sure that you have a garden hose and a bucket of water close by. The bucket is perfect for dropping extinguished fireworks and sparklers in to totally deactivate them. Remember too that the “dud” firecracker you have may just be slow! Always wait 20 minutes before approaching the failed firecracker … and then drop it immediately into that bucket of water. Over 3000 children are injured by fireworks every year … and most of those are around July 4. Fire men and women respond to over 50,000 fires annually caused by fireworks.
- If you are using more powerful fireworks, make certain that all children and other adults are at a safe viewing distance. Children, even the “adult” ones, are drawn to the excitement of fireworks. Maintain a safe distance. That includes distance from your home or flammable grasses, brush or leaves. It takes just a small spark to ignite a fire. Which brings to mind that you should NEVER carry fireworks in your pocket. Once again, a small amount of friction can set off an explosive firecracker. You really don’t want that experience.
- Purchase your fireworks from only reputable dealers. In the 1966, many types of fireworks were banned but yet they are still produced illegally and find their way into the hands of teenagers and adults. Even worse, many people make their own fireworks. And putting explosives under metal bean cans or glass just makes it worse. Just don’t.
One other great tip: Use your Smartphone as a safety tool. LifeFone offers a great application that can help you get immediate help with the push of a button if something goes wrong. If you are safe and smart, you won’t need it. If you are SMART, you’ll have the bases covered. Enjoy!