Make good memories this Fourth of July

June 29, 2017

Photo of sparklers.
Photo: How would you rather spend your Fourth of July: watching gorgeous fireworks, or rushing to the emergency room? Follow these tips to make sure it’s the former and not the latter.​

Few traditions bring as much joy as fireworks on the Fourth of July. Lying on a blanket under the stars with your family and friends, ooh-ing and ahh-ing as each gorgeous new display seems brighter and more sparkly than the last…well, there’s just nothing like it.

And that’s exactly what the Fourth of July should be: happy and fun. But spending it waiting for the fire department to come or, worse yet, rushing to the emergency room with a third-degree burn is definitely not happy or fun.

That’s why firework safety is so important. Even legal fireworks that don’t fly – like sparklers – can cause quite a bit of damage. In fact, sparklers cause almost one third of fireworks injuries every year (it’s no surprise, really: Sparklers burn hotter than a blowtorch). And while we’re on the subject of injuries, take note: Approximately 40 percent of fireworks injuries each year happen to children, and there are an average of 73 hospital visits each year in Minnesota alone. And those are just the injuries we know about. It’s possible that many people treat themselves without reporting the fireworks injury to a hospital or fire department.

Unfortunately, injuries aren’t the only problem fireworks cause. In Minnesota in 2016, fireworks caused more than $312,000 in property damage. Was that illegal bottle rocket you brought over the border from Wisconsin worth rebuilding the garage it burned to the ground? Probably not. Which is why leaving the fireworks to the experts is a much safer idea.

However, if you feel you have to take the chance and light some fireworks of your own this Fourth of July, here are a few tips:

  1. Stick to the legal fireworks. If it flies or explodes, it’s illegal, but here’s a more detailed list.
  2. Make sure you’re away from trees and houses when you use fireworks.
  3. Always point fireworks away from people and animals.
  4. Have a bucket of water handy to dispose of spent fireworks. Never try to relight a dud.
  5. Only handle fireworks when sober, and supervise children carefully.
  6. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to light and use fireworks.

Here’s hoping you make great memories on the Fourth of July. Following these tips will help ensure those memories are full of laughter rather than pain.​​​​