Independence Day is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to whip out the grill for that backyard barbeque. While the Fourth also normally means fireworks over the beach and the bay, the skies along the Gulf Coast will be dimmer this year than normal due to the cancelling of many city firework displays amidst social distancing concerns.
Handling the fireworks at home this year instead might seem like a way to keep the celebration going, but think twice. Fireworks are illegal in most incorporated areas in Alabama, according to AL.com, so you would need to check with local law enforcement to make sure you’re in the clear. Not only do fireworks pose legal risks depending on where you live along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, mishandling fireworks can have tragic consequences.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2019.” It should come as no surprise that many of those injuries occurred the month around July 4th and the majority of those injuries affect the hands, fingers and legs. Consider these important safety tips from the CPSC to reduce the likelihood of any firework-related injuries to you or your family members:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.