Most Americans celebrate the 4th of July with picnics, beverages of choice, and fireworks. This sounds like a good time and usually it is…until someone under the influence sets off fireworks, young children start dancing around the sparklers, or there is unsteady gravel beneath the beautiful firework fountain. All of the above scenarios spell disaster. Let's see why and then let's take a look at how to avoid injury.
Let's first talk about the purchasing of fireworks. The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends the purchase of fireworks from a licensed vendor, whether it is a stand or a store. You should never purchase fireworks from someone off the street or from someone's house. They are probably illegal and you may not know the potential inherent danger.
Most illegal fireworks are packaged in plain brown paper or are perhaps unpackaged and they are unlikely to list warnings. These are usually hand made fireworks and go by names such as: M80's, Quarter Sticks or Cherry Bombs. If you are ever offered anything like this you should politely turn it down and phone your local police department.
Here are some very important tips to follow when setting off any kind of fireworks.
- Only use fireworks outdoors.
- Obey your local law enforcement laws regarding fireworks.
- Children under 16 should only use fireworks under ADULT SUPERVISION.
- Always have a bucket of water or garden hose nearby.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix; your thinking is impaired no matter how little you think you had to drink.
- Only ignite fireworks on a flat service to be sure that there is no chance of them falling over and sparking where they shouldn't.
- Pay very close attention to children using sparklers. Sparklers can reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Surprisingly these innocent little sparklers can be very dangerous.
The following is a list of legal Class C fireworks that you do not need a permit for:
- Smoke and Punk
- Crackling and Strobing
- Wheels and Spinners
The following is a list of fireworks that you need either a PA local or State permit to set off:
- Bottle Rockets
- Sky Rockets
- Roman Candles
- Sky Flyers
- Display Shells
- Aerial Items
If you question any of the fireworks that you may possess, it is a good idea to check with the proper authorities if a permit is needed.
If injuries occur please seek medical attention quickly.
Keep in mind at your celebrations to account for all the people who are going to attend. Make sure that the person setting them off reads the directions carefully and understands exactly what it will do. Take time to plan a careful, safe, and legal celebration.
Have a safe and healthy July.
The above information was researched at www.fireworksafety.com, www.fireworksbydonnora.com/PA-class-C-Legal.htm.