Fireworks safety

Fireworks safety

  • Safety tips for fireworks for parents and kids


  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy.  I know a lot of people think "I don't buy dangerous fireworks, that's not a problem for me".  Yes but your neighborhood kids might set off fireworks that travel and the embers can catch your house or surroundings on fire. 
  • Be aware of windy conditions which can quickly change the direction of an explosion or firework. Embers can easily spread to rooftops and trees. 
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs while dealing with fireworks.  An impaired judgement can affect you or someone else negatively.  It slows reaction time to get out of the way if something goes wrong, it makes it more likely you will knock something over or trip setting off an early detonation.
  • Make sure to light fireworks outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C).  Kids (especially boys) think it's funny sometimes to try to scare each other with pretending to hit you with sparklers, they may not realize how hot they can get.  By comparison those seem like pretty mild fireworks and that can cause them to let their guard down. 

  • Buy only legal fireworks that have labels with the manufacturer's name and directions. Fully read the caution labels and instructions for every firework you buy. Illegal fireworks will not come with any instructions or warning labels.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.  Make sure they aren't placed near stove tops, candles or smoking areas.  Also keep away from pets as they may try to eat them or knock them over/damage them. 
  • Stay away from the most serious injury prone fireworks which usually have names like M-80, M100, blockbuster, or quarterpounder. 

  • Never try to make your own fireworks. Children or friends may think they function one way and may not know how they are intended to explode. They also are now aware of how dangerous or powerful they are and might not move away far enough to avoid getting in the crossfire.
  • Steer clear of others setting off fireworks. They can misfire, shoot off in the wrong direction or fire towards you. While they may not explode directly in your face, they can cause you to react in a way that you end up hurting yourself such as falling, tripping, colliding etc. 
  • Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even as a joke. I personally fractured my wrist trying to jump out of the way as a bottle rocket shot towards me.  A friend placed it inside a bottle rocket and as they lit it and ran away, the bottle tipped over and the bottle rocket shot towards me. I wasn't hit but had to go to the hospital with a fractured wrist from falling to get out of the way.
  • Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Never place a part of your body directly over a firework device when lighting. Also, please don't shoot bottle rockets from your mouth or butt.  A lot of people try to imitate what they see on YouTube or Jackass type shows. 
  • Wear safety glasses/goggles when handling fireworks.  Embers can float into your eye, ricochet off your surroundings and irritate your eyes. 

  • Point fireworks away from homes, tool sheds, garages, flammable liquids, oils, shrubs, trees, cars, buildings, bushes etc.

  • Light one firework at a time.  Lighting too many at once can be sloppy and you may lose control over the direction they aim at.
  • Wait at least 20 minutes before handling a dud, and never try to relight them. Duds are unpredictable and can unexpectedly go off.  Soak it in a bucket of water to ensure they will not cause any harm. Keep buckets of water or a hose nearby at all times. Never try to re-light or pickup fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.  You know better than a child what a safe distance is for each firework.
  • Don't allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time. They don't always have the greatest sense of dangerous materials. Sweep up as soon as possible. 

  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can. You don't know how they can react when mixed with chemicals in the garbage. Douse all fireworks with water before disposing to avoid a trash fire on your hands.
  • Keep your pets in mind. Animals have sensitive ears and can be very frightened or stressed by the Fourth of July and other big celebrations. Big explosions can trigger their adrenaline and make them able to jump higher, run faster and sprint aggressively making it easier for them to escape. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they'll run loose or get injured.  The weather can also be a valid reason to keep them indoor. 
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket, the friction could set them off. Especially those of us who tend to move around more and have energy.
  • Fireworks packaged in brown paper are made for professional displays avoid buying.

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially with sparklers.
  • Never allow young children to play or ignite fireworks.  Remind them that these are not toys, they should never put them in their mouth or try to taste them.  Make sure your child knows the proper procedure for when they get hurt whether under your supervision or with friends. 

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