Stay in the Know About Fireworks Safety Hazards
Stay safe this Fourth of July by enjoying fireworks the right way! Fireworks – as fun and as festive as they may be – are the cause of injury and damage every summer. In fact, fireworks cause an average of $43 million in direct property damage each year and 11,500 hospital-treated injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Fireworks Report.
Just because fireworks have the potential to be dangerous doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. It’s all about making safe and smart decisions when you do!
Tip #1: Go to a professional fireworks display.
If choosing between lighting off your own fireworks or going to a professional fireworks display, opt for the professional event. Professional displays that are open to the public will typically be well-coordinated and will follow all safety protocols. Just be sure that you sit a fair distance away from the actual fireworks in case of unlikely malfunction.
Tip #2: If you’re buying your own, make sure they’re legal.
Don’t take your chance with fireworks that don’t come from a legitimate seller. Explosive, aerial fireworks (the kind we typically associate with professional fireworks) are legal in only about 50% of states in the U.S. In other states, you’re limited to lighter items like sparklers and firecrackers. In Ohio and Nebraska, you can buy large fireworks, but can’t set them off. Be sure that it’s legal to purchase and set off fireworks in your state for both your own legal protection and for your safety.
Tip #3: Never pick up a firework that doesn’t go off after it’s lit.
You light a firework, scurry a few yards back, eagerly wait for it to go off, let a few seconds pass…and nothing happens. Is this your cue to go back and re-light? Absolutely not.
Just because a firework doesn’t go off doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. It has malfunctioned, and when there’s a product error like that, the end result can be unpredictable. For example, it could just be a delayed explosion, or it could be set off with additional movement. The safest way to handle a firework that doesn’t go off is to douse it in water. This will extinguish any burning that’s occurring inside and prevent detonation.
Tip #4: Be cautious of mortar fireworks.
Oh, the mortar. This is the firework that sounds like a cannon blast and goes off with one big “boom.” Loud and powerful, mortars aren’t to be taken lightly. It’s not uncommon for this type of firework to get stuck in its launch tube when tubes aren’t properly designed. You might see its lift charge get deployed, but not the actual mortar. When this is the case, quickly douse it with water from a safe distance. If not, the mortar could explode on the ground, sending fireworks outward toward the surrounding area.
Tip #5: Don’t mix alcohol and fireworks.
This one shouldn’t need much explanation! If drinking will be a part of your day this Fourth of July, don’t be the one to light off fireworks. It not only puts yourself in danger, but it puts those around you at risk, too. Decide beforehand who in the group will be in charge of the fireworks, so there’s no last-minute decisions the moment-of.
These are just some of the many ways you can have a safe Fourth of July, this year and every year! If you’re hosting a gathering and have questions about what your homeowner’s insurance does and does not cover, reach out to Schechner Lifson Corporation to speak to one of our friendly professionals.