9 tips for a safe fireworks show

Fireworks are one of the highlights of the summer. But a show can rapidly turn into a disaster with one wayward firework. Here are some of the risks of using fireworks, and how you can avoid them.

Extreme danger for extremities
Hands and fingers are the body parts most injured by fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Of the estimated 9,600 injuries caused by fireworks in 2011, approximately 46 percent were to hands and fingers. And more than half of the injuries were burns.

Take the fire out of fireworks
Not only can fireworks injure bystanders, they also can damage surrounding property. Fireworks caused 15,500 fires in 2010 — resulting in $36 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

You could experience significant damage to your home if a spark landed in dry grass or hit your roof. That’s why it’s crucial to light fireworks away from any homes, buildings, or other flammable materials.

More than just a sparkle
Although marketed toward children, sparklers actually lead to more injuries than any other type of firework. When lit, they can reach temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt glass and some metals. If you choose to use sparklers, supervise children to prevent burns.

Fireworks safety tips
  1. Observe local laws and don’t attempt to create your own fireworks.
  2. Store fireworks according to the instructions on the packaging.
  3. Always supervise children.
  4. Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby.
  5. Maintain a safe distance from all bystanders and any other fireworks when lighting. Don’t lean over a
         firework while lighting it, and move back immediately after.
  6. Don’t hold any lit fireworks unless they are intended to be held.
  7. Never aim fireworks at another person or building.
  8. Soak all fireworks in water before disposing of them.
  9. Soak and throw away any “duds.” Don’t attempt to relight them.