This Fourth of July, many families may be finding themselves celebrating with a backyard barbecue instead of a large party and professional fireworks display due to COVID-19. When done safely, lighting your own fireworks at home can be a fun summer activity to add some sparkle to your celebration. If you decide to use fireworks at home, keep the following tips in mind to ensure the safety of everyone watching and make the holiday one to remember.
- Be aware of and follow all state laws regarding fireworks. Michigan recently passed new firework laws, and it’s important to be aware of these policies to ensure the safety of yourself, your guests and your community. More information about Michigan’s firework laws and local ordinances can be found on the state website.
- Adult supervision is always necessary. Children of any age should be supervised around fireworks, no matter how large or small. This includes sparklers, which can heat up to 2,000 degrees and cause severe burns. Always have an adult present to supervise children around fireworks and consider using sparkler alternatives like glowsticks for younger children.
- Read the firework label. Different types of fireworks react differently and have different safety precautions, so it’s important to know what to expect before lighting one. Take time to read the directions and ensure you’re following best practices.
- Only use fireworks in an open area. Before lighting a firework, make sure you are in a clear area with no buildings or vehicles nearby that a rogue firework could accidentally catch on fire.
- Only light one at a time. Though it is exciting for multiple fireworks to go off at once, doing so can be complicated and dangerous. It’s safest to light one at a time and to maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Never re-light a dud firework. If a firework does not go off after you light it the first time, do not try to light it again. The firework may be malfunctioning and could react unexpectedly, so it’s best to only light each device once.
- Do not hold lit fireworks or aim them at another person. Fireworks should never be held after they are lit or aimed at another person, even as a joke. This can lead to severe accidents. Fireworks should always be aimed towards an open area, and the person who lights it should immediately move a safe distance away after the device is ignited.
- Be prepared. Fireworks can be unpredictable, so it’s best to always be prepared for an accident. Have buckets of water or a functioning hose ready in case a firework malfunctions and starts a fire. Also, have materials on hand and know the necessary steps for treating a burn injury.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Due to the unpredictability of fireworks, it’s important for the person lighting the device to be attentive and have clear judgement. If you are responsible for lighting fireworks and decide to consume alcohol, make sure you do so after lighting the devices for the safety of everyone at your celebration.
- Dispose of all fireworks properly. Even after they have been used, fireworks remain hot and can still be dangerous. To dispose of the devices safely, wet them down after they have been used and place them in a metal trash can or other large container away from any buildings or combustible materials. They can then be placed in the trash the next day.
The Fourth of July may look different this year, but it can still be a memorable celebration. Follow these tips and enjoy a safe, fun holiday weekend with your loved ones.