Safety first for the Fourth!

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, so it’sFireworks high time to refresh our knowledge of the precautions we should take if we’re lighting off fireworks. We’d really like for all Idahoans to make it through the weekend without causing any fires, injuries, or burning your neighborhood down.

Aren’t many fireworks illegal?

Yes, they are… Before you buy any fireworks, you should check with your city for a list of those that are legal. Generally, any firework that leaves the ground or explodes is probably going to be illegal because they are dangerous. If you’re lighting fireworks, point them away from homes, and keep them away from brush, leaves and flammable substances. 

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 any fireworks, not even sparklers. No matter how careful we are, they can cause burns and injure children’s eyes. The best way to avoid injury is to go to your local public fireworks display, give your kids some glow sticks, and leave the show to the professionals. If you give kids sparklers, supervise them constantly and make sure they keep the sparklers outside and away from their faces, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can burn from 1,800° Fahrenheit all the way up to 3,000° Fahrenheit. For reference, glass starts to melt at 900°. Water boils at 212°. Does that sound like something you want your child to play with?

What should we know about buying fireworks?

People should 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 so you can quickly douse a fire.
  • 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.
  • Please 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. You also may want to put them in their crates so they feel safe and don’t try to dig through your carpeted floor if they get frightened.


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