Despite their ready availability, all fireworks are potentially dangerous–even sparklers. Over the 4th of July weekend, pro football players were seriously injured in firework accidents. Former NCSU star C.J. Wilson, now cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, lost two fingers; and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated, and suffered multiple other injuries to both hands. It is uncertain how these injuries will affect their ability to play pro football.
If you stocked up on fireworks for your summer celebrations, please practice fireworks safety.
Fireworks Safety Tips
According to The National Council on Fireworks Safety, the best safety tips are:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Always have water handy–from a hose or bucket.
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. If the firework doesn’t light the first time, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common safety sense: Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter, and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
- Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
State laws vary widely: Under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission prohibits the sale of the most dangerous types of fireworks and the components intended to make them. The banned fireworks include various large aerial devices, M-80s, quarter-sticks, half-sticks and other large firecrackers. Any firecracker with more than 50 milligrams of explosive powder and any aerial firework with more than 130 milligrams of flash powder is banned under federal law, as are mail order kits and components designed to build these fireworks.
In North Carolina, the law allows anyone to use Sparklers and Fountains. All other fireworks, including Bottle Rockets, Sky Rockets, Roman Candles, Firecrackers, Spinners, and all Aerial items MUST HAVE APPROVAL FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES. Still, even with approval, that doesn’t mean that everyone has the knowledge to use fireworks safely.
When it comes to preventing injuries, it is always safest to leave fireworks to trained professionals.