Fireworks have a long and explosive history with both the world and America itself. Invented in Ancient China and fashioned into tools for warfare, fireworks were eventually brought to the western world and were reworked into the artistic and colorful art form Americans are familiar with today. Across the country, both families and entire cities will gather together to watch and be captivated by these impressive light shows for a number of holidays and special events.
However, despite their allure and widespread use, never forget that fireworks were originally designed as a dangerous weapon. Filled with gunpowder and other volatile chemicals, fireworks are incredibly dangerous, but still often cause accidents because fireworks are often seen as a recreational spectacle. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were eight deaths and over eleven thousand injuries related to fireworks in 2013, with nearly two hundred and forty people going to the hospital every single day in the month surrounding Independence Day, which only goes to show how important firework safety is. There are a number of things to keep in mind when interacting with fireworks, which will allow you to stay safe and enjoy the spectacle.
If you’re purchasing fireworks for your family, you should avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers because they were never designed for civilian use. Never let young children play or light fireworks, as children often don’t have a grasp of the potential injury that fireworks can inflict. Additionally, always make sure an adult is present if children are present with any firework. Even something as simple as a sparkler can cause serious injury as few realize that sparklers burn at nearly two thousand degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. If you’re setting off your own fireworks make sure that you’re doing so far away from any trees, foliage, or buildings which may accidentally catch on fire. Many safety tips are what some would consider easy assumptions: to not put fireworks in your pocket, point them towards anyone, or try to light multiple fireworks at once. However, even these basic rules are often overlooked and are worth keeping in mind. Remember, it is because fireworks are often forgot of as the weapons that they were created to be that injuries happen in the first place. Lastly, after fireworks have completely finished burning make sure to douse the area with water and safely discarding the firework materials so that they cannot start a trash fire. Fireworks contain many flammable chemicals and it’s very easy for some residual powder to catch a spark and cause a fire.
Fireworks can be breathtaking to watch, but should never be treated as something benign unless the proper precautions are taken. The chance of injury is a major downside to fireworks, but with the right steps taken they can still be enjoyed as part of many July 4th traditions.