Fireworks: Tips for a safe 4th of July | PEMCO

June 10, 2024 by PEMCO Insurance

GettyImages-514411413.jpgIf you’ve been a PEMCO customer for any number of years, chances are you’ve already heard our advice about fireworks (spoiler alert: it hasn’t changed). Our best advice? Get your “oohs” and “aahs” at a professional show. That’s because July 4 is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for emergency rooms and firefighters, mostly due to accidents involving backyard/DIY fireworks. 
Fireworks can start fires and they can cause serious injury. They shouldn’t be taken lightly or treated like a toy. 

However, many people across the PNW still choose to participate in some form of fireworks activity at home as part of their holiday celebration. 

If that’s you (or your neighbors), practice these 12 safety tips. 

  1. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area. Many communities (if not most) ban fireworks, and among those that still allow them, most restrict them to July 4 only. Check your city or county's website for the laws – and potentially hefty fines – where you live. 

  1. Choose a spot away from homes and wooded areas. Even though you're lighting fireworks legally, you could be held liable for damage if an accident happens (e.g., someone gets hurt, you damage someone’s property) or you start a fire. 

  1. Light and run. Never light more than one firework at a time, and once the fuse catches, back away quickly. Always light on a smooth, stable surface. If the ground's rough, lay down a large scrap of plywood as your launch pad. 

  1. Keep a hose and bucket nearby. Quick action can keep a small fire from spreading. And if things are so dry that a fire sparks? That's a sign it's time to pack in the celebration. No firework is worth the risk of a fire. 

  1. Wear eye protection and never lean over to check a dud or try to relight it. Instead, douse it with water. 

  1. Don't allow kids to handle fireworks. Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees and can cause severe burns if children drop them on their feet. 

If you're more interested in protecting your home from errant fireworks than lighting them, these tips can give you peace of mind so you can worry less and live more: 

  1. Turn on sprinklers to thoroughly soak your landscape. That includes not just the lawn but also shrubbery near your home. You'll also want to spray down your roof and decks. 

  1. Make sure gutters are free of dry leaves and other flammable debris. 

  1. Pull vehicles inside so paint can't be marred by hot debris landing on them. 

  1. Cover firewood stacks with a fire-resistant tarp so they won't provide fuel for a still-smoldering firework that lands there. 

  1. Bring upholstered patio furniture inside or cover it with a fire-resistant tarp to prevent scorch marks. 

  1. Lock up pets, and make sure they're microchipped and licensed in case they panic and slip out. The Humane Society offers tips on making the Fourth of July less traumatic for nervous pets. 

Remember, PEMCO’s recommendation is (and always will be) to leave the fireworks up to the professionals. However, if you (or your neighbors) choose to light them yourself, keep these safety tips in mind to help mitigate the potential risk as you celebrate Independence Day with your loved ones.

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