Happy Independence Day!
Noble McIntyre on July 2, 2013
A few tips for a safe 4th of July
July 4th is a great day for our country, and so many of us love to celebrate to the fullest. In addition to barbecues, swimming, picnics, family and friends, fireworks are also a big part of many people’s July 4th festivities. However, before you light up, you need to be sure that what you’re doing is permitted in your municipality. Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon prohibit consumer fireworks. If you’re in another municipality, check your local laws to see whether they are permissible; most localities have specific times and other restrictions. As well, bottle rockets, stick rockets, cherry bombs and M-80s are not allowed anywhere in the state of Oklahoma.
If you are someplace where you are permitted to light your own fireworks, though, bear in mind a few precautions that can help ensure a safe and enjoyable fourth. First and foremost, don’t drink alcohol or smoke near fireworks. Save the refreshments for afterwards, and never light up in close range. Here are a few more tips to safely enjoy your own fireworks display:
- Read the instructions that come with your fireworks; make sure that you fully understand how to use them, and don’t attempt to modify them or use them in a manner that is inconsistent with their design.
- Have a designated person at your event or party who will light the fireworks. That person should understand how to use them, not be consuming alcohol or smoking and should be an adult.
- Do not allow children (or teenagers) to touch or be near fireworks.
- Always have water handy in case of a blaze. This is twofold: (1) you should have a bucket handy to immediately douse used fireworks, and (2) have a hose available and turned on so that if a fire breaks out, all you have to do is turn the nozzle to get an immediate blast of water.
- Wear safety glasses. Wear cotton clothes; synthetic fibers can melt onto your skin.
- Before disposing of your used or “dud” fireworks, soak them in water. Be sure that they are thoroughly soaked before throwing them in a trash can.
- Keep fireworks on a hard, flat surface with nothing flammable nearby.
- Allow people to only view your fireworks from one side; if they’re standing in a circle, it’s too hard to be sure that all viewers are safely out of the way. If people are using sparklers, they should be standing at least 10 feet apart while the sparklers are lit.
- Wait for each firework to be completely finished before you light another.
- Don’t attempt to relight a firework that did not function properly.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released new data indicating that 60 percent of all fireworks injuries occur around July 4th. Further, firecrackers, aerials and homemade explosives have been shown to cause the greatest number of injuries and deaths. By being careful, you can ensure that the holiday is fun and that your family and friends are safe. Have a great day!
The National Council on Fireworks Safety
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission