Occasions 365

Fireworks

Enjoy fireworks responsibly on national holidays

A fireworks display is an exciting part of any 4th of July event, and it can also be a very special addition to any other celebration such as a birthday, wedding or anniversary party. Fireworks are used all over the world, and there are even fireworks display competitions, such as the annual Montreal Fireworks Festival in Quebec, Canada, and Le Festival d'Art Pyrotechnique in Côte d'Azur, France.

Purchasing Fireworks

Fireworks available for purchase by the general public are known as consumer fireworks and conform to safety standards specified by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory. Consumer fireworks contain less explosive material than commercial fireworks, such as the patriotic fireworks used in a large 4th of July fireworks display.

Consumers can buy fireworks through local party supply stores, but the widest variety and best pricing for wholesale fireworks is found on the Internet. The laws governing the purchase of consumer fireworks can vary widely from state to state, and laws in urban areas tend to be more stringent than the restrictions in less populated areas.

Some of the better-known brands of fireworks for sale include TNT Fireworks and Black Cat Fireworks. When purchasing any brand of fireworks, check to make sure that they adhere to the requirements of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory.

Fireworks Safety Considerations

Fireworks can be very dangerous; in the United States in 2006, 11 people were killed and 9,200 visited hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks-related injuries. To ensure the safety of both the audience and the people who are lighting the fireworks, there are a number of recommendations:

  • Follow the state and local regulations concerning possession and use of fireworks.
  • Only adults should touch and light fireworks.
  • Do not consume alcohol while handling or lighting fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks on a hard, level surface to maintain the stability of the fireworks.
  • Use fireworks in an open and clear area at least 100 yards from other people, trees and plants, vehicles, and buildings.
  • Keep as far from the fireworks as you can when lighting them. Use a lighting device such as a flare or an extended lighter, and move away quickly once the firework is lit.
  • Do not attempt to relight a malfunctioning firework. Let it stand for five minutes; then immerse it in water.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Have a fire extinguisher or water supply close by; a water hose or bucket of water will suffice.

Handled properly, fireworks can be a safe and enjoyable way to celebrate a national holiday or other important occasion.

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