It is that time of year again when the weather is sunny, the grills are grilling, the drinks are spilling, and coming soon – USA’s Independence Day – otherwise known as July 4th!
In less than a matter of weeks (or days, depending on when you read this), Americans around the country will celebrate the 4th which has become synonymous with great food, friends and plenty of FIREWORKS!
Knowing that fireworks can be a great way to celebrate our nation’s independence, we decided to put together some fireworks safety tips for you and your home for this year!
Home Firework Safety 101:
Did you know there are more fires on July 4th than any other day?
Once you think about it is probably not surprising, but there are more fires on July 4th than any other day of the year.
Each year, fireworks cause 1,300 structural fires and over 17,000 other fires resulting in thousands of injuries. Due to the significant uptick in fires on Independence Day, keeping a few things in mind regarding your home and safety is crucial.
Bottle Rockets, Roman Candles, and even Sparklers have all been linked to causing home fires. Adequately lighting and discarding fireworks is essential for your and your home’s safety.
Tip 1: Being Prepared – Keep a Hose & Bucket Handy!
Keep a garden hose close to the area where you are lighting fireworks and a bucket of water, just in case. After lighting off fireworks, please dispose of the used fireworks by placing them in the bucket of water. Just to be extra safe, keep the fireworks in the bucket of water overnight, then dispose of them the next day.
Keep your hose handy at all times just in case of an errant firework or spark. Also, be sure to follow your state and local ordinances regarding fireworks! In Virginia, for example, there are laws regarding what kind of fireworks you can use at your celebration… sorry no mortars, Virginia residents!
➡️See more: State Firework Laws
Tip 2: Lighting Fireworks
Some of the lighting safety tips should go without saying, but just as a reminder, keep these points in mind when lighting fireworks:
- Never ignite fireworks inside or inside of a garage, even
- Light fireworks and immediately back up to a safe distance
- Once your fireworks are done, please wait a few more moments to ensure they are done. After, throw fireworks into a soaking bucket.
- Only purchase legal fireworks.
- Never point fireworks at anyone else
- Never allow young children to light fireworks
- Make sure sparklers burn out entirely.
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eye-wear
- Never light them indoors
- Only use fireworks away from people, houses, and flammable material (Create a fireworks perimeter)
- Only burn one device at a time
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Aerial fireworks are the most dangerous
If you can’t abide by these tips, you should attend public fireworks displays instead!
Tip 3: Disposing of Fireworks
In Loudoun County, Virginia, in 2015, homeowners placed fireworks in their trashcan, placed the trashcan in their garage, and within a matter of minutes, their entire townhome was engulfed in flames. As flames made it upstairs through the three-floor home all the way to the roof, onlookers stood by in terror.
The improper disposal of shot-off fireworks. This is the number one cause of fires on July 4th – improperly disposed of fireworks. It is recommended to soak all used fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding. NEVER bring the trash can with used fireworks into your garage. Leave your trashcan on the street until trash pickup.
Other Fireworks safety tips:
A great tip to take advantage of before shooting fireworks is to inspect your home for dry debris in your gutters and roof. There is no better place for a random spark to go than a patch of dry leaves in a gutter or onto some pine needles in the valley of your roof. Bottle rockets, especially, often find themselves on roofs and in the gutters of homes. Hot summers and dry debris on roofs can be a recipe for structural fire, so be aware!
The Verdict on Firework Safety –
We hope you have a great 4th of July and spend lots of time with family and friends. Enjoy the cookouts, weather, and memories. Most importantly, it is great to celebrate our country’s Independence.
While firework safety as adults might seem silly, it is essential to remember that most fire incidents that occur on the 4th were because of improper disposal (trash fire) or improper handling. The best recommendation – watch professional fireworks with a blanket and friends!
However, if you implement the firework safety tips, we wrote, you should avoid fireworks-related injuries
Are you a Virginia resident? Here is a list of local events and fireworks shows:
- List of firework events in and around Northern Virginia can be found here!
- Alexandria, VA – Fireworks 2023
- Manassas, VA – Fireworks 2023
- Nova Fireworks – 2023 Here