Enjoy Fourth of July Fireworks Safely

July 2, 2020

firework safety

CoAuthors: Ashley R. Bradshaw, RN, Director of Emergency Services, Sovah Health-Danville & Brad Shelton, RN, BSN, Director of Emergency Services, Sovah Health-Martinsville

As we approach the July 4th holiday, people across our country are gearing up to celebrate our nation’s independence.  Ensuring a safe celebration should be at the top of everyone’s list. Remember COVID-19 is still here and we should be doing everything we can to stop the spread of this virus, such as practicing social distancing, wearing a mask or cloth face covering, frequent washing of hands and staying home if you’re feeling ill.

 Independence Day is a holiday with unique safety challenges – namely, fireworks.  Americans have enjoyed the thrill of fireworks for centuries, but the fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers and rockets that often appear around July 4th can be very dangerous, causing severe eye injuries, burns, loss of limbs and, even, death.

With many fireworks shows being canceled this year due to the ongoing pandemic, you may be thinking of having some fireworks fun in your own backyard (if legally able to do so). Follow these guidelines to keep your focus on a safe time for all:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Ensure an adult is always present to supervise fireworks activities
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose close by in case of a fire
  • Avoid fireworks packaged in brown paper because this is often a signal of fireworks that are strictly for professional displays
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person or carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never shoot off fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • Never attempt to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the fireworks with water from a bucket or hose before discarding it, to prevent a trash fire

Following these helpful tips, taking the proper precautions and engaging in some thoughtful planning can go a long way to keep everyone safe. Should you or anyone you’re with succumb to illness or injury, it’s important to seek proper medical attention immediately and – in cases of emergency – call 911.

For more information on fireworks safety, visit www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Fireworks