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Fireworks safety for the Fourth of July

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It is almost the Fourth of July and, along with fireworks celebrations, safety is a focus.

Here is a complete guide to local fireworks displays and shows. Many cities and towns in Indiana have professional celebrations planned, but many people like to set off their fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that in 2022, at least 11 people died and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks.

It may be tempting to light some sparklers or Roman candles, but Tim Griffin, public information officer for the Carmel Fire Department, says people should leave fireworks to the experts.

“Go see the professionals,” Griffin said. “You go to the professional show, you see a great show — better than you can do at home — and you’re gonna leave safe.”

More fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day, Griffin says, and the National Safety Council says that as of 2023, fireworks start an average of 19,000 fires each year.

Injuries are another major risk of at-home fireworks displays. Griffin says most fireworks injuries come from sparklers, which can burn at 1,200 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Nationwide, sparklers are our biggest problem, you know, where they cause the most burns,” Griffin said. “But things like mortars can cause the most significant damage. This is what you may see your neighbors shooting off in the sky.”

Children should never be allowed to handle sparklers or other fireworks. Glowsticks are a fun and safe alternative to sparklers, according to Griffin.

The CPSC urges people to celebrate safely this holiday by following these safety tips: 

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • 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 quickly away from the fireworks device. 
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Indiana law allows fireworks to be set off between the hours of 9 a.m. and midnight on the Fourth of July, but different cities and towns have their own fireworks-related ordinances.