Celebrating our nation’s independence by setting off a brilliant display of fireworks is an honored tradition every year on July 4th. Dating back to as early as July 4, 1777, this tradition began after Congress authorized a fireworks display in Philadelphia to honor the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This timeless tradition continues today, typically on a much grander scale; however, many people prefer to commemorate July 4th in their backyard with friends and family. If you are planning a small celebration at home, here are five safety tips to follow.
Know What Is Allowed in Your State
Forty-seven of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow legal “consumer” fireworks for July 4th. The definition of consumer fireworks varies from state to state, but can include everything from roman candles to sparklers. Before using fireworks, find out what’s legal in your state. When purchasing fireworks, always buy from a licensed fireworks dealer, and ask questions on handling and safety instructions.
Consider the Weather and Your Neighbors
Fourth of July celebrations along with the dry weather is a worrisome combination. Local fire officials will alert residents if restrictions are put in place, and you should always follow their lead. If you reside in a rural area with nearby livestock and animals, communicate with your neighbors to make sure that your fireworks will not cause an issue.
Have the Proper Tools on Hand
When setting up, make sure you light up your fireworks in a cleared outdoor area away from vehicles and buildings. Always have a bucket of water, a connected water hose, and fire extinguisher nearby. Avoid wearing loose clothing, and make a point on wearing safety glasses. Have a plan in place for your pets, and keep them indoors while shooting off your fireworks. Turning on your radio or television can help distract pets from the noise outside.
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix, so wait until you are done shooting off fireworks. If children are present, make sure to have a few adults monitoring them, especially if they get to participate in the fun with sparklers and other kid-friendly fireworks. Sparklers can get five times hotter than cooking oil, so never give one to a child under five years old.
Once you are ready to start, light only one firework at a time, and then quickly step away. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes, and then soak it in a bucket of water before discarding it. Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or attempt to shoot them from metal or glass containers. When you are done, wait 30 minutes before cleaning up. Dispose of all spent fireworks by soaking them in water and placing them in a metal trashcan away from buildings or combustible materials.
Putting on a patriotic fireworks display at home can be great fun for everybody, especially when the proper safety precautions are taken. Happy Fourth of July to you from all of us at ALCOVA Mortgage!