At the end of the week – perhaps before – the night sky will light up with red, white and blue. It’s all part of our nation’s annual Fourth of July fun.
Yet, in recent years, along with the fireworks frenzy have come fires numbering in the tens of thousands and property damage totaling millions of dollars, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), not to mention injuries ranging from minor burns to blindness.
It may be enough to make you forgo your own fireworks and enjoy a free public show in your community instead. That’s exactly what the NFPA advises. If not, celebrate with common sense and these fireworks safety tips:
Remember that even supervised children are prone to injury.
Don’t let kids handle or light any type of fireworks – sparklers may seem benign but they burn at more than 1,000 degrees, says the NFPA.
Don’t direct fireworks at people, animals, homes, trees or vehicles.
Survey the area to ensure you have enough open space for what you’re about to light. Before you begin, put on eye and ear protection and read the safety instructions on the packaging. Did your fireworks come in a brown paper bag with no packaging? They could be old, homemade or illegal – don’t light them.
Dispose of fireworks properly.
Allow fireworks to cool before picking them up, and keep a hose or bucket of water on hand to douse all fireworks, whether used or unused, prior to disposal. If a firework doesn’t go off, don’t relight it – it could have a dangerous defect.
Secure pets in a comfortable area.
They may try to flee your home or yard if given the chance. An ID tag or microchip is essential to their safe return in that case. If your pets are especially anxious on July Fourth, ask your veterinarian to recommend a safe calming method.
Keep an eye out for fires.
Clear your yard and gutters of flammable material in advance of the holiday. If you notice someone putting you and your home at risk, be sure to call the authorities. Won’t be home? Ask a neighbor to watch over your property for you.
With a little precaution, you’ll remember this July Fourth for all the right, rather than the wrong, reasons. Happy Independence Day!