For many Americans, it wouldn’t be a proper Independence Day celebration without watching a fireworks show or setting off a few fireworks of your own. Here in Arizona, like many regions in the southwest U.S. with similar ultra-dry conditions, we tend to leave the big fireworks displays to the professionals, and stick with a few, small novelty items such as sparklers. But it’s important to remember that even the “safe” products like sparklers have the potential to start a fire or cause a burn injury if used incorrectly.
Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation (APSEF) reminds us that “people of all ages delight in sparklers’ glittery trails of sparks and crackling effects. However, because they burn at a temperature of approximately 1,800° F, care must be taken to use them properly, especially around children.”
The APSEF advises the public every year to make safety their top priority and to only buy legal consumer fireworks from a licensed store, stand, or tent. Always read and follow the fireworks’ instructions for use, keeping spectators at a safe distance.
When handing sparklers over to kids, parents should supervise closely and remember these tips:
1. Make sure children do not have loose clothing like billowy sleeves that a spark could catch and avoid open-toed shoes or bare feet.
2. Only use sparklers outdoors and away from buildings on flat, hard fireproof surfaces that are free of any debris.
3. Never allow children to aim or throw any type of firework at another person, or to step on a burning or just-extinguished sparkler. The wire center remains hot for a long period of time.
4. Have a working hose or bucket of water handy, and dunk used sparklers in water before throwing them away.
In addition, always be mindful of your neighbors as unexpected or loud fireworks use can potentially be traumatic for military veterans, families with very young children, and pets.
Remember to be #SparklerSafe and #CelebrateSafely this 4th of July!
About the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation
The APSEF is a 501 c (3) charitable organization focused on creating fireworks safety and education programs for youth. The goal of this education initiative, Celebrate Safely, is to instill in young people an understanding of how consumer fireworks should be used appropriately, discourage the misuse of fireworks, and decrease the number of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. Additional information about the foundation, including educational curriculum, videos, and safety tips can be found on the APSEF website at http://www.celebratesafely.org