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US CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION’S TOP 11 FIREWORK SAFETY TIPS

May 12, 2021

Did you know that china invented fireworks? I’m sure all kinds of people are responsible for the modern day marvels we all see on our town square on the fourth of July but China is credited with the invention of  the original fireworks. Legend talks about a Chinese cook, who mistakenly invented fireworks while mixing charcoal, Sulphur, and saltpeter (potassium nitrate). The mixture was compressed in a bamboo tube and eventually exploded. Other accounts say that the Chinese used fireworks to scare away mountain men perceived as threatening. We may never know the true story but history supports the origin of the idea coming from China. While China is credited with inventing fire works Italy is responsible for making them the beautiful and wonderous things they are today. According to the Smithsonian Italy added aerial shells and metallic powders to transform them into simple explosion’s into what we see today. Fireworks made their way around the world and today you can travel to see glorious displays of fire, color and magic.

While fireworks and their history are beautiful beyond belief, they are incredibly dangerous to untrained consumers. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission there are some steps you should take to keep your family safe while enjoying the sparklers we all love.

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • 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.

And as always keep in mind the happiness and safety of those around you. Many people suffer from PTSD that may be triggered by the loud noises and flashes of light that fireworks bring. Be courteous to neighbors and always adhere to local laws, sound ordinances, and other guidelines set forth by local agencies.

Pets and wildlife are also affected by fireworks in a negative manner. Every year wildlife, especially birds are displaced by the sudden influx of noise and light after dark. Pets can also become frightened by fireworks and be lost or injured. According to HumaneSociety.org these are some steps you can take to safeguard your pet while enjoying fireworks at home.

1. Keep your pet safely away from fireworks
Pets are more sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells. On the Fourth of July, and other days people are likely to set off fireworks, it’s best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV turned on to soften jarring noises. Even pets who are usually kept outdoors should be brought inside.

If you are going to an Independence Day event and cannot leave your pet unattended at home, keep them leashed and under your direct control at all times.

2. If your pet is scared by fireworks, ask a veterinarian for help
There are medications and techniques that might help alleviate your pet’s fear and anxiety. You can also try our suggestions for helping your dog cope with loud noises.

Keep your pets comfortable during all holidays. Read our Halloween safety tips for pets.

3. Protect your pet from heat stroke during summer festivities
Another reason to keep your pets away from the often noisy celebrations of summer is heat. High temperatures put your pet at risk of heat stroke, which can become deadly very quickly. Keep an eye on your pets and act immediately if you see any signs of heatstroke.

NEVER leave your pet in a parked car, even if the day doesn’t seem that warm. The temperature outside may be a balmy 72 degrees, but the temperature inside a closed vehicle can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour.

Also remember that hot pavement can be dangerous to unprotected paws; if it’s too hot for you to hold your hand to the ground for five seconds, it’s not safe for your dog to walk on.

4. Safeguard your pet with a collar and ID tag
All pets, even those kept indoors full-time, should always wear collars with ID tags. Indoor-only pets can become so frightened during fireworks displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, including breaking through windows or door screens. You should also ensure that your pet is microchipped and that the chip is properly registered with your current contact information.

If your pet does become lost, contact your local animal control and surrounding shelters immediately and follow the rest of our advice for finding your pet.

If you find a lost pet, either take them to the address on their tag or bring them to a local animal shelter so they can be reunited with their family.