Fireworks have been part of Independence Day celebrations in the U.S. from the very beginning. Since 1777, communities around the country have been filling their skies each Fourth of July with awesome displays of pops and light and color.
But with the exciting beauty can come danger, if fireworks aren’t handled safely. On average, more than 280 people go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries in the weeks around the Fourth of July.
Make sure fireworks are legal where you are before buying or using them. Even if your state allows fireworks, they may not be legal in your county, town, or city.
Never let young children play with or set off fireworks. Even sparklers can cause serious burns. They can get as hot as a blow torch.
Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket, throw or aim them at people, or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
Never re-light or immediately pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
Learn how to safely dispose of unused, misfired, or “dud” fireworks:
Once they have finished burning, fully submerge the fireworks in a large bucket of water. Soak them until they’re thoroughly saturated. This may take 15 minutes for small fireworks or several hours for larger ones.
Put the completely soaked fireworks in two plastic bags so they don’t dry out.
Place the double-bagged fireworks in your household trash or bring them to your local solid waste facility. You can also ask your fire department about other disposal options.
See the powerful danger of mishandling fireworks with a demonstration video from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
As you're planning the rest of your summer, visit USAGov's recreation page for tips on exploring and enjoying national parks, wildlife refuges, and more.