Are you planning a home fireworks demonstration? You can put on a nice display with consumer fireworks, but you need to know how to light off home fireworks safely. Fireworks may be legal to sell in many states, but thousands of people hurt themselves each year using fireworks.
You can do a lot to keep yourself and your audience safe – and with the right safety precautions, everyone can have a great time watching a fireworks show at your home. Here’s what you should consider before you light the first fuse.
Fireworks Should Be Held Steady on a Rack
Firework racks hold fireworks upright so that they shoot their explosive contents into the air and not directly into the assembled crowd. A firework that is simply placed on the ground can fall over and spew fire and exploding components in entirely the wrong direction, putting anyone nearby at risk. A firework that is properly secured in a firework rack is unlikely to fall over.
Bottle rocket fireworks can be placed in a bottle, or you can sink them into a bucket filled with sand. Put them in the sand right before the show. Sand can attract a lot of moisture and that can ruin the fireworks. Mortars and shells can be screwed to a long piece of wood, preferably a large and heavy piece of plywood, so they don’t fall over. You can also build a fireworks rack for mortar tubes.
A Home Fireworks Display Requires a Lot of Space
While it’s legal to light off fireworks in the majority of states, you’re going to need plenty of space at home in order to set them off safely. You don’t want your audience too close to the firing line. If they’re standing right up on the firing line, and a firework falls over or something goes wrong, they could be within the line of fire. Figure out how far your highest firework rises, and add half as much again to that number. That’s how far away your audience should be.
You also want to make sure that your fireworks won’t be raining hot debris down on flammable structures, trees, or piles of dry brush. Check for burn warnings in your area before you set off fireworks at home. Fireworks can break, or spread out, to over 30 feet or more in the air. Remember that wind can blow firework debris further away than you might expect.
You Should Be Ready to Put Out Fires
Fireworks are, by definition, on fire, so you need to take care that they don’t set anything else alight. Keep a fire extinguisher next to you on the firing line, or have a garden hose ready in case something catches fire. Again, make sure your area isn’t under a burn ban before you light off fireworks.
Keep a First Aid Kit Handy
As previously mentioned, lots of people get hurt by fireworks every year. You should be prepared to treat minor injuries immediately and provide first aid for more serious injuries. Keep a first aid kit nearby when you’re setting off fireworks, with burn cream, bandages, and pain relievers.
Handle Fireworks Carefully
Only one person should be lighting fireworks, while everyone else stays back at a safe distance. The person lighting the fireworks should be wearing long pants, long sleeves, socks, closed-toed shoes, gloves, goggles, and a hat with a brim or a baseball cap turned backward. Never hold a lit firework in your hand, and keep all lit fireworks within your line of sight, so that if something happens, you’re aware and can react immediately.
Kids Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Play with Fireworks
Only adults should handle fireworks, and they should do so while completely sober, not while under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. You shouldn’t even give kids sparklers. They can burn at 1,800 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is plenty hot enough to cause serious burns or catch clothes or hair on fire.
You Can Still Set Off Fireworks in the Rain
Your fireworks show can still go on in bad weather, as long as it’s not too windy. Wrap your fireworks in plastic wrap or tin foil to protect them from the weather. You don’t need to take it off before lighting it. It’ll make more of a mess to rake up, but it’ll keep your fireworks dry long enough to get the job done.
Before you put on your own home fireworks show, make sure you know how to stay safe. That way, you and your audience can focus on what’s really important – having a good time.