BBQ’s, bike parades, and red, white & blue—Independence Day is around the corner. When you’re out enjoying local fireworks or setting off your own, please exercise simple safety tips this Fourth of July.
Emergency rooms in Minnesota see upwards of 80 fireworks-related injuries each year around this time of the summer. And each year there are a handful of preventable deaths due to mishandling, or worse, handcrafting, of fireworks. So besides not making your own fireworks, or lighting one off your hard hat (may he rest in peace), follow these tips to keep yourself and your family safe.
- When viewing local fireworks displays, respect the Restricted Areas. Let the professionals take the lead, and don’t cross over or park next to the launch areas.
- Obey the local laws. In Minnesota, only non-explosive and non-aerial fireworks are permitted, such as cones and tubes that emit sparks, or the ever-present sparklers. So if it flies, it can’t be set off in the state. See the full list of parameters here.
- Parents should carefully supervise teens who are handling or lighting fireworks. Injuries from fireworks are disproportionately felt by young people (double the rate of those over 40), so help them make good decisions in the midst of the excitement.
- Similarly, don’t let children near fireworks. Even sparklers can reach up to 1,200 degrees and cause burns, so supervise them very carefully.
- When lighting your own fireworks, don’t wear loose clothing, don’t light them on grass, and do point them away from any structures or trees. Fireworks should not be lit after consuming alcohol, so use your head.
- Never try to relight a “dud” firework. And certainly don’t go stand over it and inspect it. Let it be and move on.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, or water in a bucket or a hose, and always finish the job by soaking used fireworks in water away from any buildings or other materials.
Don’t let your holiday be ruined by burns or serious injuries due to fireworks. Use common sense around these explosives, and enjoy the celebration in full safety. Happy 4th from your friends at SPOE Lawyers!