3 Good Reasons Not to Light Fireworks on Your Property—But if You Do…
You may want to leave lighting fireworks to the professionals after seeing these statistics.
Fireworks are a staple of patriotic celebrations, but they pose a number of risks. The National Fire Protection Association says fireworks are simply not safe in the hands of consumers and should only be handled by professionals. One reason for this is that fireworks cause thousands of injuries every year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nine people died from firework-related injuries in 2021 and approximately 11,500 sustained injuries serious enough to warrant medical care. Of these injuries, the majority were among children and young adults.
There are several other reasons you might want to avoid lighting fireworks this summer. Read on for three important things to consider before lighting fireworks on your property, as well as some safety tips for avoiding injuries and accidents.
1. It May Be Illegal
Due to their safety risks, home fireworks are actually illegal in many cities and municipalities across the country. If fireworks are banned in your area, you risk fines or even legal action by lighting them at home. Instead of lighting fireworks, consider using glow sticks and noisemakers to celebrate.
2. It Could Start a Fire
Along with causing bodily harm, fireworks cause significant property damage every year. According to the National Safety Council, fireworks start at least 18,500 fires across the country each year. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and almost 17,000 other fires.
Many parts of the West are in historic drought conditions, and other areas are drier than usual, meaning much of the U.S. is in some sort of drought this summer. This factors into some fireworks bans, especially since research shows that more wildfires start on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year.
If fireworks are allowed and safe in your area, you should still use caution. Always light fireworks in an open area away from houses, trees, fences, and other structures, and be ready with a source of water in case a fire erupts.
3. It Causes Air Pollution
In addition to their safety issues, fireworks pose a risk to the environment. When they’re lit, they emit toxic gasses (like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen) and other pollutants, making a negative impact on air quality as well as soil and water. This is true of both professional-grade and home fireworks.
These gasses are also poisonous to local wildlife, pets, and livestock. Be sure to keep pets and other animals away from fireworks and clean up the leftover firework casings afterward. Consider an alternative activity—like attending a parade or block party—for a more eco-friendly celebration.
Firework Safety Tips
If you do decide to light fireworks on your property, keep these essential safety tips in mind.
- Keep fireworks out of reach of children and ensure they’re operated by adults only.
- Never operate fireworks when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear protective eyewear when lighting fireworks.
- Do not hold a lit firework in your hands.
- Only light fireworks outdoors.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Never try to pick up a firework that hasn’t properly ignited.
- Keep a bucket of water or a hose at the ready in case of fires.