Fourth of July fireworks may be fun, but they’re also undeniably dangerous. Reduce the risk at this year’s celebration by following these safety guidelines:
- Clean up your yard. A stray firework can easily cause landscape vegetation to catch fire, which can lead to a wildfire. To avoid this, make sure your yard is in fire-safe condition prior to your Fourth of July celebration. Trim trees and bushes, mow grass, and remove any dead leaves and brush around your home (don’t forget to clear your gutters). The fireworks area should also be free of firewood, building materials and other combustible items.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand (and know how to use it). Most people have fire extinguishers in their homes, but simply having one isn’t enough—it also needs to be in working condition. Check the unit’s pressure gauge: if the needle falls within the green area, it’s functional; if it falls anywhere else, it needs to be serviced or replaced. Of course, you also need to know how to use your fire extinguisher. The simplest thing to remember is the acronym PASS: pull the pin, aim at the fire’s base, squeeze the handle and sweep the spray from side to side.
- Exercise caution when using fireworks. When you’re playing with fireworks, you’re literally playing with fire, so take every precaution to prevent injuries. All fireworks activities should be supervised by an adult. Don’t let children ignite or play with fireworks—even sparklers can (and do) cause injuries. Keep a bucket of water on hand in case of malfunction or fire. If a firework malfunctions, toss it in the water bucket instead of relighting it. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal one.
- Grill safely. Outdoor barbecuing is a staple of any Fourth of July celebration, but the flames from a grill can be just as dangerous as those from fireworks. Situate your grill well away from your home (and deck, if you have one), as well as overhead tree branches. Keep children and pets at a safe distance to avoid accidents. Always open your gas grill before lighting, and periodically empty its grease pan to reduce the risk of a grease fire.
Have a fun and safe Fourth of July!