Nothing says "Fourth of July" quite like pyrotechnics in the night sky. Maybe you and your friends head out to watch the professional fireworks show over the East River. Maybe you watch the Washington D.C. fireworks display on TV. Or maybe you're one of the many Americans who likes to put on their own mini fireworks show themselves.
Setting off fireworks is an incredibly popular activity across the country on the Fourth of July. However, it is also quite dangerous. In 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that non-professionals operating fireworks led to 11,000 hospitalizations nationwide.
Prepare: Before you light any fireworks, fill two buckets with water--and have them handy in case you need to quickly extinguish a fire. It's also good practice to have a hose or fire extinguisher at the ready.
Protect: It's important to wear safety goggles or other protective eyewear when handling pyrotechnics.
Isolate: Maintain a safe distance between yourself and any children. Never let a child handle a firework.
Rule of one: Only light one firework at a time, and never try to light a dud firework more than once.
Aim: Always be sure to aim the fireworks into an area free of people, animals, buildings or flammable objects.
After the show
Tragedy can occur even after your fireworks show is over. If you have any unused or dud fireworks left, these are still explosive and need to be properly disposed of. Soak all remaining fireworks in a bucket of water for 12 hours. Then, while they're still wet, wrap them in two layers of plastic to prevent them from drying out. They are now safe to put in the garbage.
The holidays are a time of celebration. Follow the above recommendations to help make your Fourth of July a happy experience.