With the 4th of July on the horizon, it’s more important than ever to talk about fireworks safety best practices. Proper fireworks safety can make the difference between a night filled with fun memories and a potential fire or injury. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the improper use of fireworks results in thousands of injuries every year. In 2015, U.S. hospitals treated an estimated 11,900 people for injuries directly related to fireworks use. It also results in thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage each year due to fires that break out. Fireworks start approximately 18,500 fires a year, with a total average of $43 million in direct property damage. This year, make your 4th of July a safe and enjoyable celebration for everyone by following these safety tips from the fire damage experts at ServiceMaster TEAM:

For Everyone

When handling fireworks responsibly, there are some basic rules you should always follow:

DO

  • Wear safety glasses.
  • Protect your hair or pull it back.
  • Read all fireworks instructions and labels before use.
  • Keep water buckets or a charged hose nearby and within reach.
  • Move back from the firework as you light it.

DON’T

  • Mix alcohol and fireworks.
  • Allow children to light fireworks or play near them unsupervised.
  • Light more than one firework at a time.
  • Relight dud fireworks that fizzled out. Wait 20 minutes, soak them in water, and now throw them out. They cannot be used again.
  • Try to make your own fireworks from something you saw online.

Remember, fireworks are using FIRE! Even sparklers burn at 1,200° F, which is hot enough to cause third degree burns. The NFPA is actually opposed to the consumer use of fireworks in general. If you’d like to see advanced fireworks, go to a public show put on by professionals.

For Children

Children are often excited by fireworks and want to participate. However, it is extremely unsafe to allow any child near fireworks. Children younger than 15 years old account for 26% of the injuries estimated in 2015. Always explain clearly to them that fireworks can cause harm, but that you are in charge and it will be fun and safe that way. Let them know the following rules:

  • No lighting fireworks whatsoever.
  • No playing nearby fireworks.
  • Hold sparklers at arm’s length away from the body.
  • Never touch a firework piece on the ground after they have exploded.
  • If you see another kid breaking the rules, tell an adult.

For Pets

Pets can be easily startled and do not mix well with fireworks in general. You should keep them out of harm’s way and house them somewhere secure. Play with them before the party, so they’re tired and relaxed by the time you leave them inside. Then, prepare a cozy crate or room when they can stay where you know they are safe. Make sure your phone number is visible on their tags and their microchip updated with your most recent contact information in case they do get scared and manage to run away or break out of the house. If you know you have high-strung or anxious pets, consider talking with your veterinarian about options to sedate your pets.

Following the common-sense rules and safety precautions for fireworks use will help you have a safe and fun holiday. If you do experience a fire, know that you can trust the fire and smoke damage restoration team here at ServiceMaster TEAM. We’re experts at restoring your home or business after a fire in the greater Ft. Worth, Texas area.