Fireworks Safety Tips

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Independence Day Fireworks Safety (Fireworks Account for Most Fires)

According to the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA), far more fires are reported on July 4 than on any other day, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires. In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 40 civilian injuries, and $32 million in direct property damage. Over 9,600 fireworks related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

According to the NFPA, the risk of fire death relative to time used shows fireworks as the highest risk consumer product. The risks with fireworks are not limited to displays, public or private. Risks are also wherever fireworks are manufactured, transported, stored or sold. "Safe and sane" fireworks are neither. Fireworks and sparklers are designed to explode or throw off showers of hot sparks. Temperatures may exceed 1200 degrees; by comparison, glass melts at 900 degrees.

By far, enjoying public displays of fireworks that comply with NFPA standards are the safest way to enjoy the 4th of July, Independence Day celebration.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the many public displays; however, if you are having a home fireworks display, here are some safety guidelines to follow:

  • Follow the manufacturer directions.
  • Have water available for extinguishment of discarded fireworks or an emergency.
  • Place legally purchased fireworks on a flat surface, clear of combustible materials and clear of all buildings.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep bystanders at least 25 feet away from fireworks.
  • Do not permit young children to handle or light fireworks.
    (Sparklers can reach a temperature of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department


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