Fourth fact: Sparklers can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Are you ready for the Fourth of July? Between now and Saturday, it looks to be hot and dry, so it’s a good time to refresh your knowledge of the precautions to take before lighting fireworks. We would prefer an injury-free, fire-free holiday weekend! 0629_sparkler

Here’s a quick Q&A that covers the basics:

Aren’t many fireworks illegal?

Yes, they are… Before you buy any fireworks, you should check with your city for the list of legal fireworks. In Boise for instance, it is illegal to set off fireworks in certain residential areas of the foothills. Generally, any firework that leaves the ground or explodes is going to be more dangerous and probably illegal. If you’re lighting fireworks, point them away from homes, and keep them away from brush and leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 2 out of 5 fires reported on the Fourth are caused by fireworks, more than for any other single cause.

Are there any fireworks that are OK for children to play with, like maybe sparklers?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should never be allowed to play with fireworks. Even sparklers are dangerous. Many parents allow their kids to play with sparklers, but if they’re not handled properly, they can cause burn and eye injuries. The best way to avoid injury is to go to your local public fireworks displays, give your kids some glow sticks, and leave the fireworks to professionals. If you give kids sparklers, supervise them constantly and make sure they keep them outside and away from their faces, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 212 degrees. And we all know how hot 105 feels, thanks to recent temperatures!

Lots of folks like to shoot off fireworks. What should they know when they buy them?

Buy only legal fireworks that have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions, and store them in a cool, dry place. In Idaho, fireworks that are “safe and sane” are legal. That designation includes ground spinners, sparklers and fountains. Firecrackers and M-80s are illegal. And if you’re on public land for the holiday, leave all your fireworks at home because they’re all illegal on public land.

What are some good general safety tips?

  • Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Light one firework at a time (not in glass or metal containers), and never relight a dud.
  • Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Children who handle or will be near fireworks should wear eye protection such as inexpensive safety glasses.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
  • And remember your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened and stressed on the Fourth. Keep pets indoors so they can’t panic and run loose and possibly get injured.
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