Fireworks Safety

What would the 4th of July be without fireworks? But, before you enjoy your own fireworks display this year, review these safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety. You don’t want to be one of the hundreds of people who go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the holiday.

Fireworks Injuries

Obey the Law

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

  • Rhode Island
    • Only ground and hand-held sparkling devices (“sparklers”) are legal for use by the general public.
      • These devices are ground based or hand-held devices that produce a shower of white, gold, or colored sparks as their primary pyrotechnic effect.
    • According to the State Fire Marshal’s office, any firecrackers, rockets, mortars, or any other device that launches a projectile and/or makes a “bang”/detonation/report are illegal.
  • Massachusetts
    • It is illegal to use, possess or sell fireworks.
    • It’s also illegal to purchase them legally elsewhere and transport them into the state.

Sparklers are Not for Children

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, even sparklers.

Sparklers are often considered a “safe” option for children. However, the CPSC said parents don’t realize young children can suffer serious injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests the following precautions:

  • Sparkler holders should be standing up, not sitting down
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops
  • Give each person a sparkler then light it. Do not try to pass a lit sparkler
  • Light one sparkler at a time. Lighting multiple sparklers can be dangerous
  • Everyone using a sparkler should be at least six feet away from each other
  • Avoid waving a sparkler
  • Never toss or throw a sparkler
  • The sticks – which can remain extremely hot long after the flame is gone – should be disposed of in a bucket of water.

Safety Steps

The CPSC says in the month surrounding July 4th, an average of 250 people go to the hospital with fireworks-related injuries. More than 69% of those injuries are burns. There are precautions you can take to keep an ER visit from ruining your fun.

Mannequins show the dangers of fireworks and sparklers.
  • Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves or grass, and other flammable material
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode
  • DO NOT try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away
  • Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially glass or metal.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas
  • NEVER have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.


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