The fireworks are to the Fourth of July what evergreen trees are to Christmas: an absolute must–but also a safety hazard if not handled properly.
The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services warns that though beautiful fireworks can be dangerous.
"Fireworks can quickly turn a Fourth of July celebration into a tragedy when children and adults are injured while using fireworks,” state Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr said. “For all the fun and excitement of fireworks, they account for an increasingly large number of injuries and fires that are preventable when proper and strict safety measures are taken.”
Farr recommends attending professional fireworks displays, rather than trying to create them at home. But if you must, here’s a sampling of some important safety tips to remember when you make sparks fly:
- Do not allow unsupervised children to use or play with fireworks–even sparklers.
- Once purchased, store fireworks in a cool, dry place and check each package for special storage instructions.
- Only light fireworks outdoors on a flat, smooth surface at least 15 feet away from houses and flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
- Be sure other people and pets are out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
- Wear eye protection when handling fireworks and never carry them in your pocket.
- Have a garden hose, bucket of water and wet towels ready to use immediately in case of a malfunction or fire.
- Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water before putting them in a garbage can. Remember that cylinder fountains and cone fountains may still be burning on the inside after the shower of sparks has stopped. Soak them in water before you discard.
Clawson Fire Chief Richard Dylewski also offered some safety tips for residents planning to shoot off some fireworks in their backyard this weekend.
- Parents should take the time to discuss the hazards related to fireworks with their children and make sure they are supervised.
- Always keep fireworks stored in a safe and secure place away from children.
- When lighting fireworks make sure to wear eye protection.
- Make sure to keep all spectators a safe distance from the fireworks and do not aim them in the direction of any crowds.
- Try to avoid the use of sparklers as they are responsible for the majority of eye injury and burns.
- Make sure to have an extinguishing source close to the area where fireworks are being ignited.
"The best and safest bet for fireworks is to leave it to the professionals," Dylewski said in an email to the Clawson Patch.
Wondering what kinds of fireworks are legal in Michigan without a permit?
Outdoor displays must comply with National Fire Protection Association standards according to NFPA 1123: Code for Fireworks Display, which can be found at nfpa.org. But as a general reference, if you can't buy it in Michigan, you probably can't use it in Michigan.
To learn more about fireworks safety and the permit process, visit the Bureau of Fire Services website, michigan.gov/bfs, or contact the Bureau of Fire Safety at 517-241-8847.
Save Yourself the Hassle: Go to a Show
There’s really no need to dirty your backyard and put yourself and loved ones at risk. Clawson's annual fireworks show is a big deal for many people in and outside the community. The show will begin at 10 p.m. (or dusk) Monday. So grab some lawn chairs and a water bottle and enjoy the display at City Park, put on by the pyrotechnics of the Hudson, OH-based American Fireworks.