July 4 celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence — and for many people, the celebration includes fireworks. Americans have been setting off fireworks to celebrate their independence since as early as 1777.
Yet, the thrill of colors exploding in the sky comes with dangers as well. On average, 240 people go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries in the month leading up to Independence Day.
Probably the best tip of all is: Don’t do it. Leave the fireworks to the experts.
But if you are compelled to use fireworks, follow these tips to ensure you and your family have a fun and safe holiday.
10 Fireworks Safety Tips
1. Make sure fireworks are legal in your locality and state before buying or using them. Even if your state allows fireworks, that doesn’t mean that your county, town, or city permit their use. (Most fireworks are illegal in Illinois.)
2. Never let young children play with or set off fireworks.
3. Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
4. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
5. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
6. Never re-light or immediately pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Safe Disposal of Unused, Misfired, or “Dud” Fireworks
7. Once they have completely burned, fully submerge fireworks in a large bucket of water and soak until thoroughly saturated. This may take 15 minutes for small fireworks or several hours for larger ones.
8. Double wrap the completely soaked fireworks in plastic wrap or two plastic bags so they do not dry out.
9. Place the double-bagged fireworks in the household trash or bring them to your local solid waste facility.
10. Ask your local fire department or solid waste facility about other disposal options that may be available in your community.
Learn more about fireworks safety.