The 4th of July is a summer milestone – one that many of us look forward to and plan for weeks in advance. We gather friends and family at cabins, parks and in our own backyards and celebrate our freedom with food, games and of course – fireworks! If you’re one of millions of Americans already planning your annual fireworks display, we would like to share some safety tips to keep in mind so your 4th is a blast but doesn’t result in one!
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports more fires on the 4th of July than any other day of the year – more than half of which are fireworks-related. Additionally, a 2016 report by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reports over 11,000 fireworks-related injuries and 4 deaths in 2016 alone. Many if not all of these accidents can be avoided by taking some simple and important precautions.
10 precautions to keep your home, yard and family safe:
1.Elect a designated fireworks launcher. This person should be a competent and sober adult. Be sure to mandate eye protection as eye and face damage is the most common type of fireworks-related injury.
2. Use only Class C fireworks for personal displays. Reserve Class B fireworks for professional displays.
3. Trim nearby tree branches – particularly those that hang over your roof. This helps minimize the risk of a branch catching fire and landing on your roof.
4. Clean debris off your roof and away from your launch area prior to lighting off your display. Pine needles, pine cones, leaves, tree bark…they’re all highly flammable and, once ignited, can cause a fire to spread quickly across your roof or lawn.
5. Don’t make your own fireworks. Only light store-bought fireworks that contain warning labels.
6. Keep a hose and bucket close at hand. Hose off any ‘duds’ or spent fireworks. Then soak them in the bucket for 15-20 minutes before discarding them in a metal trash can or doubled-up plastic bag.
7. Be sure you light your fireworks from level ground. If you’re lighting them on grass or gravel, put a large paver stone down to light them from. Uneven ground can cause rockets to tip and shoot off across the ground – potentially harming spectators and igniting grass.
8. Don’t relight a ‘dud’ firework. Instead hose it, soak it and discard of it as described in #6.
9. Once the launcher lights the firework, be sure they back up and join the other spectators. Renegade fireworks happen. Allowing space around the launch area ensures safety for all parties.
10. After you finish setting off your display, hose off the ground where the fireworks were lit. Small sparks can be difficult to see in the dark. By hosing off the ground, you diminish the likelihood that remaining sparks will ignite nearby grass, leaves or or other flammable debris.
From all of us at McDonough Landscaping, we wish you and your family a safe and happy 4th of July! As always, contact us for your next landscaping, outdoor living or landscape lighting project!