Fireworks safety for the Fourth of July

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Fourth of July is just a few days away and fireworks season is here.

Many cities and towns in the Hoosier State, including Indianapolis, have professional celebrations planned, but many people like to set off their own fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.

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 fireworks start an average of 18,500 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.

Other fireworks safety tips include:

  • Avoid buying fireworks in brown paper packaging, which is a sign they are made for professional displays
  • Light fireworks one at a time and then move away.
  • If lighting fireworks, avoid wearing loose clothing.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of fire.
  • Don’t try to relight a burned-out or “dud” firework. Soak it in water and throw it away.

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.

(Provided Photo/National Fire Protection Association)