Blog | June 30, 2021

Safety Tips for July 4th Fireworks: What (fire)Works and What Doesn’t (fire)Work

Fireworks, like modern combustion engines, operate on a few fundamental principles of physics. As Sir Isaac Newton is famously (not) quoted as saying:

“When you make big explosions near little things, those little things move fast.”

“When little things hit you fast, they hurt a lot.”

“Fire burns.”

In all seriousness, anyone who knows (even basically) what a firework is, knows that the same reason it’s so entertaining is also the reason it’s so dangerous: it explodes. With that in mind, and with July 4th coming up, it’s important to keep your Independence Day celebrations safe while also being spectacular. 

Make sure it’s legal!

You wouldn’t want to end your Independence Day with a citation or worse; that would simply be ironic in addition to being a huge inconvenience to your coming weeks or even months. Laws for purchasing or even simply using fireworks can vary by state, county, and local municipalities. Make sure you check all local and state laws and ordinances to make sure your July 4th won’t end on a sour note. These laws are all available online, generally, and researching your legal options is definitely worth the investment of time. 

Be safe.

A lot of these safety tips are common sense, but it’s always good to have a reminder.

First, only adults should handle fireworks. The reason is obvious, and it’s the same reason why children shouldn’t handle anything that explodes. In the real world, we know that older teens are interested in fireworks, and in this case, if they insist on shooting fireworks, make sure that they’re under strict adult supervision by someone you trust. 

Second, fireworks are obviously inflammatory, and you should therefore never shoot them in locations or under circumstances where the risk of a fire would be great. Don’t shoot them inside. Don’t shoot them at or near people’s houses or other buildings. Don’t hold onto them as they’re firing. Don’t fire them at people. The short summary of this tip is that you want fireworks to be far away from you or anything else when they ignite or explode.

Third, and a point that many people don’t realize, is that you can get effective protective eyewear to help protect yourself. These glasses tend to be affordable, lasting, and frankly, sometimes fashionable, so they are triply recommended. 

Fourth, don’t drink and shoot fireworks. This one should also be obvious, but it’s the same advice I give to people when it comes to automobile accidents. You don’t want to be intoxicated or impaired while operating a 3,000-pound vehicle, and you don’t want to be intoxicated or impaired firing a literal rocket that explodes. 

Fifth, keep water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case something goes wrong. Sometimes, accidents can happen despite our best efforts. You always want to have a backup plan. It’s recommended to soak spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before you finally get rid of them for good. 

Sixth, don’t use old fireworks and don’t try to use fireworks that aren’t working right. If anything seems off about the product you’re trying to light, just extinguish/douse it as above and dispose of it. Better safe than sorry. You’d rather be out a few dollars than cause major injuries or incur major liability for an accident.

And seventh and lastly, sparklers are hot. They can get up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit hot. According to my research, that’s hot enough to melt brass, aluminum bronze, copper, gold, lead, silver, and zinc. Be especially careful with these. Anything hot enough to melt metals is hot enough to cause you serious injuries or a major accident. Avoid them, or at the very least be extremely cautious around them and in using them.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo at (610) 625-2100. Consultations are always free, and your peace of mind may be only a phone call away.

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