Directorate of Communication and Public Affairs
U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center
Fort Rucker, Ala.
Let’s face it — a Fourth of July celebration without bottle rockets, Roman candles and sparklers feels incomplete. For hundreds of Americans, though, this year’s festivities will end badly because they failed to take proper safety precautions when handling fireworks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most fireworks-related injuries in the United States occur during the weeks surrounding the July Fourth holiday, with the hands/fingers, eyes and legs being the most commonly injured body parts.
Fortunately, fireworks-related injuries are avoidable with just a few common-sense rules. The National Council on Fireworks Safety and Consumer Product Safety Commission offer the following tips.
• Only use fireworks outdoors.
• Read and follow all warnings and instructions before igniting fireworks.
• Obey all local laws regarding use of fireworks.
• Ensure spectators are out of range.
• Only light fireworks outside on a smooth, flat surface away from homes and flammable materials. During drought conditions, avoid using fireworks altogether.
• Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
• Always have a bucket of water or water hose nearby.
• Remember, alcoholic beverages and fireworks never mix.
Even fireworks many parents consider safe for younger children to handle, such as sparklers, can cause painful injuries. The CPSC reports that 16 percent of consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers, with the majority of those occurring to young children. To keep your kids safe, follow these tips.
• Sparklers should always be used under close adult supervision.
• Always remain standing while using sparklers.
• Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
• Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
• Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
• Sparkler wires and sticks remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.
• Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person. Give them the unlit sparkler and then light it.
• Always stand at least six feet from another person while using sparklers.
• Never throw sparklers.
• Show children how to hold sparklers at arm’s length away from their body.
• Teach children not to wave sparklers, especially wooden stick sparklers, or run while holding sparklers.
Fireworks can add extra excitement to any July Fourth celebration. Be responsible this Independence Day and take precautions to protect yourself and your Family from needless accidents.
For more information on fireworks safety, visit https://safety.army.mil.