Summer time is here, schools out, and a national holiday that excites many of us is fast approaching. I’m talking about: Independence Day, The United States of America’s birthday, most commonly called the 4th of July. Fireworks have been an integral part of this national celebration since it’s founding. So I’d like to take a moment to share my thoughts on fireworks safety and fun.
I’m sure you can tell by the tone of my writing that I’m a fan of fireworks, ask my wife or neighbors and they will confirm your suspicions. I bring up neighbors because they should be your number one consideration when celebrating anything with fireworks. Neighbors can be your biggest fans or your worst nightmare. You’d best make them fans. I always invite them to watch, this serves to warn them while also including them in the fun. Most people do enjoy watching fireworks especially if they are good ones. Also keep your firework use to a manageable length of time, even a fireworks sour puss can put up with some noise for an hour, especially if you always clean up after yourself. Yes I said clean up after yourself. One angry neighbor can shut you down with a phone call, so keep them happy.
Safety, safety, safety! Fireworks should be left to the professionals… or to those that can behave professionally with them. A professionally fired show is a site to behold, and is often our first exposure to these exciting products. But watching from a distance isn’t the same as lighting, staring straight up, and flinching from the sudden burst of sound and color overhead. Professionals take precautions and you should too. First off never let young children light fireworks, there are simple mistakes that can be made that cause serious injury and property damage. Professionals are trained, you should be too. Talk to your fireworks vendor, stores and seasonal tent operators they will give you advice, use common sense. One of my favorite bits of advice is: Light and walk away. Sounds simple but ignoring that rule can result in burns from a malfunctioning product or a twisted ankle as you trip over a curb. Consumer fireworks have a minimum of a three second fuse giving you plenty of time to remove yourself to a safe distance. Wear eye protection, you can buy light weight safety glasses at any hardware store. Never put your body above the device you are trying to light. Use a proper lighter, punks, matches and cigarette lighters are lousy substitutes for what the professionals use. Road flares, butane torches, and electronic firing systems. The first and latter are overkill and out of reach to most of us but a simple butane torch, found next to the safety glasses at the hardware store will light that fuse quickly and from a foot further away then a grill lighter. The pros have fire suppression devices on hand, you should too. I keep a bucket of water next to me as well as having my garden hose unwound and charged before I light anything. Know your site, the professionals’ layout site plans to be approved by fire marshals and sheriff offices. You may not be able to do this but look around and make sure you wont hit anything like a dried out tree or your neighbors shed full of old paint buckets.
So celebrate our countries independence with enthusiasm and illuminations, but do it safely. Your neighbors will appreciate your efforts so long as you don’t make it a burden on them. Your family will appreciate your efforts so long as you do not injure yourself and others. With a little planning and caution you will thoroughly enjoy making a huge spectacle of yourself with ear splitting color splashes that paint the sky the way only fireworks can.