With Independence Day right around the corner, you might be thinking picnics, parades, and fireworks shows. There’s one of those three that stands out when it comes to the danger factor, and it’s not either of the two that start with the letter “P.”
Fireworks can be a lot of fun to watch, but try to set them off yourself and you may find the fun quickly replaced with very real danger. Each year over 8,600 injuries are caused by fireworks, and around 3,000 of those injuries happen to children under the age of 15. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t set off your own fireworks, but here are the top ones.
It Might Cause a Fire
Fireworks are not a misnomer. You will certainly be working with fire, and one wrong move is all it takes to start a fire. The chance of starting a fire multiplies if the climate is dry, and especially increases if there are fire warnings to begin with. Even something as innocent as simple sparklers can set off a fire, if you don’t properly make sure that the flame is out before you throw them away.
Stay Away from Duds
If lighting a firework does nothing and the fuse burns completely without setting it off, don’t re-light it. In the case of “duds,” as these defective firecrackers are called, you must leave the dud alone for 20 minutes before putting it in a bucket of water. By trying to light it again you are setting yourself up for danger if it happens to explode.
Stay Away in General
The most common cause of fireworks-related injuries is being too close. Understand that when you light a firework, it actually explodes, and certain rockets that fly in random directions pose as additional threats. While sparklers might seem like the “wimpiest” or least dangerous type of firework, they actually burn at temperatures around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt many types of metals and cause significant burns. If you give one to your child, make sure you can provide constant supervision to ensure that he or she does not keep it too close.
Fireworks can be loud. The mix of gunpowder with many other chemicals can produce an explosion so powerful that farm animals are literally scared to death. Other animals, including your pets, could become frightened and panicked; and in turn become much more aggressive, which might lead to them attacking you or your family members.
Combining Fireworks in Dangerous Ways
Seeing just one firework go off can be awe-inspiring, so it’s easy to see why so many people try to light multiple fireworks at once or pack them tightly together and link their fuses so that only one string has to be lit. Every year around Memorial Day or Independence Day, countless stories pour into the news outlets about people who get seriously injured (and even killed) by groups of fireworks. Many don’t realize that by mixing so many different measurements of certain chemicals, you are essentially left with something akin to powerful dynamite.
By taking the proper precautions before handling fireworks, you can enjoy safely lighting your own fireworks in the backyard this summer. For an even safer evening, however, simply watching a fireworks show will provide both a much more grandiose presentation and a lot less chance of injury.
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Weil, M.D., Andrew. “Setting off Fireworks at Home?” DrWeil.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2012. https://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA78222.
Ballou, Brian R., and Martin Finucane. “Officials Warn of Fireworks Dangers.” Boston.com. N.p., 30 June 2010. Web. 19 June 2012. https://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/06/officials_warn_3.html.
“Police Warning on Danger of Fireworks.” ABC.net.au. ABC News Austrailia, 6 Feb. 2012. Web. 19 June 2012. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-06/police-warning-on-danger-of-fireworks/3813864.