The little kid inside you looks forward to it every year: fireworks on the Fourth of July. It’s your favorite part of the holiday festivities. This year, you’ve decided to skip the professional fireworks display on TV—you’re going to put on your own fireworks show for your family and friends.
But before you jump into your new role as pyrotechnics practitioner, there are a few things you should know. Lighting fireworks requires more than just basic fire safety knowledge. Thousands of people are hospitalized every Fourth of July from amateur fireworks mishaps. It pays to educate yourself in advance on how to safely operate fireworks:
- Have water on hand: Fireworks are difficult to control, and you always run the risk of a fire. Have two buckets of water at the ready—just in case.
- Take basic safety precautions: Keep a safe distance from any other people or animals. Wear safety goggles whenever lighting fireworks.
- Aim for a clear space: Always point fireworks away from other people, animals or anything flammable.
- Follow the rule of one: Only light one firework at a time, and only light each firework once. If a firework fails to ignite—or fails to ignite completely—never try to re-light it.
- Discard properly: If you have any leftover fireworks that you didn’t light or that failed to ignite, submerge these in a bucket of water overnight. Then wrap tightly in plastic to make sure they don’t dry out. Now you can put them in the garbage.
Have fun this Fourth of July. Planning responsibly for your fireworks show can help prevent unnecessary tragedy.