For centuries, fireworks have been a popular form of entertainment, particularly during Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and other celebrations. Fireworks can be visually spectacular and awe-inspiring, but they are also extremely hazardous. In this article, we will discuss the safety of pyrotechnics and the precautions you should take before using them.
Fireworks are a major source of injuries and property damage. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 15,600 injuries and three deaths related to pyrotechnics in 2020. During the month preceding the Fourth of July, the preponderance of injuries were treated in emergency rooms. The commission also estimates that nearly 20,000 fires were caused by fireworks in the United States, resulting in 8 fatalities, 60 injuries, and $105 million in property damage.
Despite these dangers, pyrotechnics continue to be popular. Are fireworks safe? Yes, by properly storing and handling pyrotechnics before and after lighting them, the vast majority of individuals can safely enjoy fireworks. The following are some common safety measures and tips to bear in mind:
Check your local laws and ordinances to ensure that pyrotechnics are permitted, and only purchase them from vendors with a valid permit.
Never ignite fireworks indoors or beneath any structure, including trees and bushes.
Wearing safety goggles, hearing protection, and gloves when handling pyrotechnics is also strongly advised as a precaution.
Keep a container of water or a hose nearby to douse any potential fires.
Never allow minors to interact with fireworks without adult supervision.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can minimise the risk of injury and property damage and have a safe and enjoyable time.
There are various varieties of fireworks, such as hand-held fireworks, ground fireworks, and aerial fireworks. Both handheld and ground-based pyrotechnics can produce sparks that can ignite clothing or cause minor burns; therefore, one must maintain a safe distance. The most dangerous fireworks are those that can impact off-target and ignite houses, trees, and other structures.
Other risks associated with fireworks include hearing loss from loud explosions, respiratory problems from inhaling the smoke released by fireworks, and psychological damage from tension and anxiety caused by the noise.
Animals can also be at risk from fireworks. The loud noise from pyrotechnics can frighten animals, resulting in dangerous behaviour for both humans and animals. During a fireworks display, animals may flee, conceal, or become aggressive. When setting off pyrotechnics, it is essential to confine your pets to an interior room, play background noise such as music, and close the curtains.
Moreover, pollution is another issue associated with pyrotechnics. Explosions can emit hazardous chemicals into the air. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium may be among the toxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic substances present. The discharge of these substances may result in water and air pollution, which can negatively impact the health of humans, animals, and the environment.
In conclusion, although fireworks are visually stunning, they are not always secure. Animals are at risk from injuries, property damage, and pollution caused by fireworks. Nevertheless, it is possible to enjoy pyrotechnics safely and responsibly with proper care and prudence. Always prioritise safety by adhering to manufacturer instructions and keeping minors away from fireworks. Be careful and have joy!