Fireworks have been a major part of many countries’ holiday celebrations for centuries, especially at New Year’s Eve.
It is essential that if you are planning to use fireworks, you go through a series of preparations to ensure proper safety, choose a launching site carefully, and use considerable caution when setting off the fireworks. Keeping in mind these simple steps can help to keep you and your spectators well protected during the fireworks display.
- Protect your eyes and ears. Get a pair of safety glasses and earplugs for each person who will be setting off fireworks. These can be found at any hardware store and some drug stores. Improperly used fireworks frequently cause eye damage and hearing loss–nearly 40% of fireworks-related injuries occur to the head area.
- Dress appropriately. Don’t wear loose clothing such as long skirts, jackets, or scarves, which can all catch fire easily. But do try to wear snugly fitting long sleeves and pants to protect from potential burns.
- Use only legal fireworks. Never buy fireworks from a friend, or someone placing a public advertisement. Even if the items appear professionally made, they could be illegal or on poor condition.
- Store them out of reach. Until you’re ready to use them, keep your fireworks in a cool and dry place where children can’t get to them. Hot temperatures or damp air can damage the fireworks and make it more likely that they will malfunction.
- Never carry a firework in your pocket or enclosed in fabric or plastic wrap. A tiny spark of static electric charge can ignite a firework and it can cause injury or death. Fireworks are often wrapped in a special static proof plastic.
- Have water on hand. Always have a supply of water nearby in case refuse, vegetation, or clothing catch fire. If you can’t find a safe area near a water hose, fill up several buckets of water and bring them with you to the site. To be extra safe, have a fire extinguisher nearby as well.
- Keep children away. Forbid young children to handle any kind of fireworks. Even sparklers are known to cause severe burns. Ensure that children, and any other spectators, stand far back (at least 15 m) from the area where you’ll be lighting the fireworks.
- Set off fireworks only when sober and alert. Being short of sleep, or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can affect your judgment and coordination–two things you really need when setting off fireworks. The night before you plan to use fireworks, be sure to get as much sleep as you usually need to function properly. And before using fireworks, be sure to stay away from alcohol or any substances that tend to slow you down or make you feel tired.
- Check official regulations. Do an internet search to learn about what types of fireworks, if any, are legal in your country. If you can’t buy a certain class of fireworks in your state or province, it is most likely illegal to use that class of fireworks in your state or province.