If you’ve been a PEMCO customer for a few years, chances are, you’ve already heard our advice about fireworks: Get your oohs and ahs at a professional show. That’s because July 4 is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for emergency rooms and firefighters, owing to accidents involving backyard fireworks.
But this year, to maintain safe social distancing, many city fireworks displays are in doubt, and some already have been canceled. That means more people may opt for DIY fireworks, bringing the rockets’ red glare closer to home.
If that’s you (or your neighbors) here are our top 12 tips to stay safe.
For fireworks lovers
If you're lighting fireworks as part of your holiday celebration, enjoy them with less worry:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area. Many communities ban fireworks, and among those that still allow them, most restrict revelers to July 4. Check your city or county's website for the laws – and potentially hefty fines – where you live.
- 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 or you start a fire.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wear eye protection and never lean over to check a dud or try to relight it. Instead, douse it with water.
- 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.
For fireworks loathers
If you're more interested in protecting your home from errant fireworks than lighting them, these tips can give you peace of mind:
- 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.
- Make sure gutters are free of dry leaves and other flammable debris.
- Pull vehicles inside so paint can't be marred by hot debris landing on them.
- Cover firewood stacks with a fire-resistant tarp so they won't provide fuel for a still-smoldering firework that lands there.
- Bring upholstered patio furniture inside or cover it with a fire-resistant tarp to prevent scorch marks.
- 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.
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