Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
One may be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn't enjoy a breathtaking fireworks display. These pyrotechnic delights are one of the hallmarks of the summer season. Parks, area beaches and many other recreational areas feature fireworks displays to light up the nighttime sky. Fireworks are also very popular for personal use, with peak use around big holidays, such as Independence Day or Canada Day. Consumer fireworks, if used in accordance with their instructions, are very safe, says the National Council on Fireworks Safety. Injuries from consumer fireworks have dramatically decreased over the past twenty years, despite an increase in usage by consumers. Today, some form of consumer fireworks are allowed in 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. But some fireworks can be dangerous. It is recommended that you only buy consumer fireworks from a licensed store or stand. Never buy fireworks from an individual's house, or from someone on the street. Such fireworks are likely to be illegal explosives that can cause serious injury. Consumer fireworks regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are packaged in bright colors and have safety warnings on the packaging. The packaging sets forth the country of origin, normally China. Typical consumer fireworks include fountains, cones, sparklers, fire crackers, bottle rockets, and multiple tube products. Illegal explosives are often unpackaged and are wrapped with plain brown paper. They are unlikely to have any safety warnings, or place of manufacture. Many of them are handmade in basements or illicit factories. They go by names such as M80, Quarter Stick or Cherry Bomb. If someone approaches you to sell one of these illegal explosives, politely decline and then call your local police department. If you're planning on enjoying fireworks at your next party or event, follow these safety tips. Only use fireworks if they are legal in your area. Shooting fireworks illegally will likely result in fireworks confiscation by authorities (a waste of your money), fines or even jail time. Fireworks are for outdoor use only. Do not light them indoors and then carry them outside. Follow the instructions for fireworks usage on the packaging. Use them only as intended. Do not try to combine fireworks to get a bigger bang or light display. Keep water in a bucket and a hose nearby for safety reasons. Fireworks should be operated soley by an adult. This adult should wear safety glasses. Spectators should keep a safe distance. Always let common sense prevail. Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting. Don't try to re-light a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes or more and then extinguish the dud in a bucket of water. Sparklers can be beautiful but also dangerous. Do not let children under the age of 12 handle sparklers. Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that local fire departments respond to more 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest. Be respectful of others. Do not shoot fireworks off for a long duration into the wee hours of the night. Neighbors may be trying to get some sleep.
By being safe, you can ensure that this summer fireworks season will be enjoyable and a delight to behold. Metro Editorial Services