Keep fireworks fun: Leave them to the pros

It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks. But setting them off is not a do-it-yourself job.

Professionals like firefighters or trained reps of fireworks companies know how to handle the sparkly explosions safely. Chances are, you don’t.

So leave the fireworks displays to the pros.

Mishandled fireworks can cause serious fires and life-threatening burns. Exploding fireworks are especially dangerous if they come into contact with power lines.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety reports that more than 9,000 people are treated for fireworks-related injuries every year. Even tiny sparklers—a favorite of little kids’—can reach a staggering 1,800 degrees, quickly causing dangerous burns even with minor skin contact.

            Keep kids entertained with safe alternatives. Buy inexpensive glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets that will stay lighted all night. Battery-operated fiber-optic sparklers will put on a colorful show year after year without the danger of fireworks.

Instead of putting on an amateur show at home, take your family to see a local display that’s supervised by fire officials.

            If at-home fireworks displays are legal in your community and you do choose to light them, follow these safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Check that all fireworks come from a reputable source. Follow all safety directions on the package.
  • Light fireworks outdoors only, and keep a bucket of water nearby in case of fire.
  • Never let small children touch, hold or light fireworks.
  • Prepare an area for shooting off fireworks, and keep spectators far away.