NEWS | June 28, 2011

Fireworks safety

By 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office

The Fourth of July is always a fun time to gather with family and friends to acknowledge the nation's birthday and fireworks are a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday, but they must be used carefully. The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges consumers to be smart before, during and after consumer fireworks displays.

Before:
- Choose an open area away from spectators, homes, buildings and dry vegetation.
- Use a garden hose to wet down the area before firing.

During:
- As each device burns out, soak it using a hose or a bucket of water.
After:
- Place all used items in a covered, fireproof container and leave them outside away from homes and buildings.

For sparklers:
- Place all used items in a covered, fireproof container and leave them outside away from homes and buildings.
- Children under the age of 12 should not use sparklers without very close adult supervision.
- Always remain standing while using sparklers.
- Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
- Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
- Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
- Sparkler wires and sticks remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparkler directly in a bucket of water.
- Never hand a lit sparkler to another person.
- Always stand at least six feet away from another person when holding a sparkler.

Treat fireworks with respect, read all of the cautions and warnings and use common sense. Lighting fireworks indoors, throwing them from automobiles and lighting multiple devices at the same time can lead to accidents and are not how fireworks are intended to be used. Always obey all local laws pertaining to the use of fireworks.

- If you see someone misusing fireworks, stop them. Show them the correct way to use consumer fireworks and do not ever use professional fireworks or illegal explosives. Do your part and everyone will be safer.
- Fireworks and alcohol do not mix.

When all else fails, use common sense. Respect fireworks and sparklers as the great tradition they are, but also respect the fact that they must be used with caution.