With Independence Day on the horizon, many of us are looking forward to the explosive fun of fireworks once again with our families and neighbors. They’re exciting and awe-inspiring whether they’re enjoyed during the Fourth of July, concerts, the Super Bowl, or any other festive occasion. Plus, they’re a great way to get the community together to kick back on their blankets and lawn chairs for a shared relaxing (if loud!) experience.
But anytime you’re dealing with fire and explosions, you’re taking a risk. Not only are fireworks physically dangerous if improperly handled, but they’re illegal in some states. That’s why we’ve gathered a few tips for keeping your local firework celebration safe, legal, and fun.
The legality of consumer fireworks varies state-by-state, and while Massachusetts is the only U.S. state to have a blanket ban on all varieties of consumer fireworks, most states have different laws pertaining to what kinds of fireworks are legally permitted, and for whom. So before you start planning your own fireworks display, educate yourself about your community’s fireworks laws. Illegal possession or use of fireworks can result in penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.
Under no circumstances should young children handle fireworks. Some folks might opt to let their older children or teenagers use fireworks, but that should only be done under close adult supervision. This includes sparklers, which may seem relatively safe compared to rocket-based fireworks, but can still be extremely dangerous, especially for children. Fireworks of all varieties are too dangerous to be used by anyone who isn’t responsible enough yet to be trusted to handle dangerous materials carefully and responsibly.
Obviously, keeping your family, friends, and neighbors safe must be a top priority while putting on a fireworks show, but you need to protect yourself as well. Protective eyewear is an absolute must, and that goes for anyone around you near the fireworks too. You’re going to need to keep your wits about you, so never handle fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Where you set off fireworks is just as consequential as all the other variables that affect firework safety. For one thing, fireworks should never, ever be set off in doors, nor a closed container of any kind for that matter. Keep fireworks away from flammable materials, and make sure you have fire extinguishers and plenty of water handy in case of a mishap.
Additionally, if you live in a region that’s vulnerable to wildfires, especially in the midst of a summer heat wave, please think twice before doing anything that could potentially cause long-term harm to your community.
If you live in the United States, chances are there’s going to be an officially-sanctioned local fireworks display for your community on the Fourth of July. So if consumer fireworks are illegal in your area, you’re inexperienced, or otherwise unsure of your ability to set off a fireworks display safely and legally, your best bet is to find out where you can catch the experts’ fireworks spectacular instead. For a relaxed and more-than-likely free fireworks experience, that’s almost certainly going to be your best bet.