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Fireworks Safety Tips for a Spectacular Fourth of July

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Several people holding firework sparklers

As Americans gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July with dazzling fireworks displays, it’s crucial to prioritize safety to ensure a fun and accident-free holiday. According to Lakes Regional Healthcare Emergency Physician Nalini Jagram-Payer, MD, every year, people end up in the emergency room due to fireworks-related injuries, many of which are preventable. To keep your festivities joyful and injury-free, here are some essential fireworks safety tips to follow:


  1. Purchase Fireworks from Reliable Sources

Opt for fireworks from reputable vendors, ensuring they meet safety standards and are legal in your area. Avoid purchasing illegal or homemade fireworks, as they pose a significant risk.


  1. Read and Follow Instructions

Before igniting any fireworks, carefully read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Each type of firework operates differently, so understanding how to properly light and handle them is crucial for safety.


  1. Designate a Responsible Adult

Assign a responsible adult to always supervise fireworks activities. This individual should be sober, knowledgeable about fireworks safety, and capable of handling emergencies.


  1. Choose a Safe Location

Select a clear, open outdoor area away from buildings, trees, dry grass, and flammable materials to set off fireworks. Ensure there are no overhead obstructions such as power lines.


  1. Keep Water Handy

Have a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher nearby to extinguish any fires or mishaps promptly. Water should also be readily available to soak used fireworks before disposal.


  1. Use Safety Gear

Wear safety goggles and protective clothing while handling fireworks to shield your eyes and skin from sparks and debris. Avoid wearing loose, flowy clothing and make keep hair tied back.


  1. Maintain Distance

Keep a safe distance between spectators and the fireworks. Follow the recommended safety distances provided for each type of firework, typically ranging from 30 to 100 feet or more. Also, never put any part of your body over the fireworks.


  1. Never Point or Throw Fireworks at People

Avoid pointing fireworks at individuals, animals, or buildings, and never throw them. Mishandling fireworks can lead to serious injuries or property damage.


  1. Dispose of Used Fireworks Properly

After the fireworks display, douse used fireworks with water to ensure they are fully extinguished before disposing of them in a metal container. This helps prevent accidental fires.


  1. Be Mindful of Pets and Wildlife

The loud noise and bright lights of fireworks can frighten pets and wildlife. Keep them indoors in a secure, comfortable environment to minimize stress and potential injuries.


  1. Follow Local Laws and Regulations

Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding fireworks use in your area. Respect noise ordinances and be considerate of neighbors when planning your celebrations.


  1. Attend Professional Displays

Consider attending public fireworks display organized by trained professionals rather than setting off fireworks at home. Professional shows offer a safer and more spectacular experience for everyone to enjoy. Fortunately, there are several to watch in the Iowa Great Lakes.


By following these fireworks safety tips, you can ensure a memorable and injury-free Fourth of July celebration for you, your loved ones, and your community.


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