Summertime Fireworks Safety Tips
Fireworks… a summertime staple…
Many of our summer events and holidays would just not be the same without being able to enjoy a great fireworks display.
Moreover, many states, including the great state of Maine, purchasing fireworks is legal. This helps to increase our enjoyment, especially as we include them into our outdoor plans.
But for as much fun as they can give, they are also a potential source of injury or even fatalities.
Estimates are that around 11,000 to 13,000 people are injured due to fireworks every year and an average of 8 people are killed every year due to fireworks related incidents.
These numbers become even more depressing when you realize that about 1/3 of the people injured by fireworks every year are children. This includes injuries from fireworks such as fire crackers and sparklers.
Sparklers are commonly enjoyed by adults and children of all ages. Unfortunately, most parents forget that these sparklers are extremely hot until it’s too late. Sparklers burn hot enough to cause serious burns to the skin and even ignite clothing.
Fireworks Fire Hazards
As if the injury related statistics weren’t bad enough, fireworks also have a rather obvious track record when it comes to fire hazards.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that fireworks are responsible for between 20,000 to 50,000 fires per year, including fires inside the home, inside or around vehicles, as well as outdoors.
These fires not only destroy property, they cause thousands of injuries as well as at least 2-3 deaths per year.
Fireworks Fire Prevention
The key to preventing fires caused by fireworks is recognizing the fire hazards posed by fireworks and preventing them before they occur. To that end, here are some safety tips:
Create an Open and Clear Space
Prepare a clear, open space that is away from buildings, trees and anything that might be flammable. Your open space should have a fire extinguisher and a source of water on hand. If you are in an area surrounded by foliage or brush, you can reduce the fire risk by watering them with a hose before you begin your fireworks display.
Respect Fireworks Restrictions
Even though fireworks are legal in the state, there may be a ban in your community. Furthermore, there could be temporary restrictions due to drought or other conditions which make fires more likely.
Dispose of Fireworks Safely
Dispose of any 'duds' and spent fireworks properly. Duds in particular can become serious fire hazards if they dry out, so dispose of it in a way that mitigates the risk of fire. A good rule of thumb is to wait 20 minutes after attempting to light it. Then soak it in a bucket of water for as long as possible. Finally, double bag the soaked dud and dispose of it.
Wear Eye Protection
Fireworks have the potential to cause eye injuries. These injuries are not only from the projectile sticking your eye, but the sparks and debris when the go off. Though wearing safety goggles when using fireworks may seem a bit over the top, you’ll be glad you did.
Use Fireworks Properly
Be sure to point fireworks away from people, animals, buildings and other objects.
When you’re lighting fireworks pay careful attention to their intended direction of travel. Ensure that even fireworks that shoot into the air don’t land in areas dense in foliage such as trees, bushes and other vegetation.
Transport Fireworks Safely
It’s a good practice to never carry fireworks shoved in your pocket or purse/bag. The friction from your pants or purse/bag can cause the fireworks to ignite and cause serious injury. Carry fireworks in proper boxes or bags in which they were originally purchased from your local retailer.
Practice Fireworks Safety
Fireworks can be fun to see and enjoy if they are used properly. By using common sense safety practices you can mitigate the risks of fire and serious injuries.
While we hope all of your summertime plans go off without a hitch, if disaster strikes, your friends and neighbors at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland are here to help.