Independence Day is right around the corner, which means fireworks aren't far behind.
Some people skip public fireworks shows and choose to do their own displays. Once you find out that private fireworks shows are allowed in your community, your next order of business is to make sure everyone is safe.
Fireworks safety is of the utmost importance. So before playing with fire this coming holiday weekend, here are 6 things you should never do when you have fireworks, according to the Fireworks Alliance.
1. Never use fireworks without reading the instructions first
Sure, it might seem like common sense: You get a match, light the thing and wait for the ooohs and aaaahs. But it's not that simple.
For example, the way you light a roman candle is different from how you light fountains or sparklers. Each type of firework has a specific way it should be lit and a different way it explodes. If you're an amateur, read no, study the instructions thoroughly.
2. Never light fireworks without lots of water handy
Sparks literally fly when you light fireworks. You never know where a spark might land that could cause a fire to break out.
Even though a small fire may not seem like a big deal, flames can quickly spread and have the potential to burn people and property. As a precautionary measure, have a bucket of water or a water hose handy.
3. Don't let kids light fireworks without an adult
Children should probably not be lighting fireworks, but if they just insist on getting a sparkler, make sure they are supervised and shown how to do it correctly.
After you read the directions, demonstrate how to properly use fireworks. Explain to them why you have to keep your distance and why you keep a bucket of water around.
4. Don't light fireworks close to your body
Though most fireworks injuries are burns, there are other injuries that are more serious.
That's because many people tend to hover over fireworks when lighting them. Always light fireworks at arms length. Once fireworks are lit, give yourself enough distance so you won't get burned when they erupt.
When handling fireworks, you want to wear long pants and sleeves made of cotton or denim that will shield your skin. You also want to wear shoes that cover your feet, so no sandals and definitely no flip-flops, just in case you need to run for cover. Safety goggles are a must and ear plugs are great for louder fireworks.
5. Don't light fireworks on a windy day
Fireworks are small explosive devices so you already can't predict their trajectory. A windy day only makes this more difficult.
Before you decide to light fireworks, make sure the wind isn't too strong. Wind can cause fireworks to fly left or right instead of straight up like they are supposed to. If you go outside and the wind is too strong, you may want to change locations or consider doing your fireworks display at a different time.
6. Don't drink, smoke or do drugs when handling fireworks
As stated before, fireworks can have a mind of their own. Sparks can fly in any direction. Being intoxicated could slow your reaction time. If a fire were to break out, it's more likely for you and others to be injured.
If you're smoking while holding a firework, you can accidentally light the firework. This is really dangerous and can cause severe burns.
Celebrating the 4th of July should be full of great memories. Those memories should not involve a trip to the emergency room. But if that's necessary, our emergency care team at West Valley Medical Center is ready to help.