Fourth of July Dangers
The 4th of July: a holiday meant to represent when the United States declared themselves separate from Britain. People across the nation participate in festivities, such as spending time with friends and family barbecuing and lighting fireworks. Americans appreciate the visual effects of fireworks, as well as the technical aspects that are put into a show. Others may find themselves enjoying the dramatic noises and the thrill of danger; however, this danger is very real towards yourself and your home. While the holiday has historical backgrounds, people should be aware of the dangers that fireworks present during July 4th, and take the appropriate safety precautions.
The tradition of lighting fireworks on the 4th of July started around the first Independence Day. John Adams, known as the second president of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers, first wrote in a letter to his wife about the idea of the celebration. Dated July 3, 1776, Adam wrote that Independence Day should be nationally recognized “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” This set into motion the festivities that surround July 4th. The first fireworks for the holiday were lit on July 4, 1777 in Philadelphia and Boston. To represent the first thirteen colonies, the show both started and concluded with thirteen rockets.
Within five years, the fireworks market “exploded”. Many different varieties and effects of fireworks were made available to the country, and the technology improved and evolved to what we know today as fireworks.
While many people enjoy the light show that fireworks present, there are many dangers associated with them to homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires. This leads to an average of $43 million in direct property damage. 65% of all fireworks-related injuries occur during the month surrounding July 4th.
To avoid property damage to your home this firework season, keep in mind some of the following tips:
- Buy fireworks packaged in brown paper; this is usually a sign that the fireworks are meant for professional use, and could pose a serious danger to consumers.
- Carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Place any part of your body directly over fireworks when lighting a fuse.
- Try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Keep children and pets away from fireworks.
- Point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Purchase fireworks from licensed vendors. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Use sparklers and fireworks in a flat, open area.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Light fireworks one at a time.
- Have an adult being supervising firework activities.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishaps.
After you’re done with the fireworks, douse the device with water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.