Increase in Fireworks Use Demands Extra Caution
News outlets have been reporting a significant
increase in fireworks complaints
across the country long before the 4th of July holiday, including cities here in the Shenandoah Valley. Fireworks retailers indicate that sales have doubled or tripled since last year, leading Julie L. Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association to speculate in a
Washington Post article
that it's because, “Everybody has been in lockdown mode for over three months,” she said. “There’s nothing to do. You can’t go to a movie theater, there are no festivals, there are no events, nobody’s going on vacation, they’re just stuck at home . . . and they’re deciding that, hey, fireworks are affordable family fun.”
Do Cancellations of Traditional Displays Call for Private Shows?
Add the fact that many traditional fireworks displays have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no doubt that many people are considering creating their own 4th of July show. If you happen to be one of them, keep fireworks safety top of mind while celebrating Independence Day 2020.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.