Fireworks are a staple item of any Fourth of July celebration, along with hot dogs, sparklers and the American flag. But to help keep everyone safe this upcoming Fourth of July, firework displays should be left to the professionals.
Firework retailers may legally sell fireworks to the public soon, as the Texas Department of Insurance allows retail fireworks permit holders to sell fireworks from June 24 to midnight on July 4. Fireworks for consumers, also known as 1.4G fireworks, are usually sold at neighborhood stands during major holidays. The main ingredient in fireworks is gunpowder, therefore classifying fireworks as hazardous substances under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
To help keep everyone who visits Brazos River Authority reservoirs safe, discharging fireworks or detonating explosives are prohibited over BRA lakes or lands, per BRA Lake Regulations. Rather than incur the cost of fireworks and chance injury, the National Safety Council recommends the public enjoy firework shows done by professionals.
“They may be legal, but they are not safe,” the National Safety Council said in an online article.
In 2017 alone, 8 people died and more than 12,000 people were injured from fireworks-related incidents. About 67% of those injuries took place from June 16 to July 16. In addition to these deaths and injuries, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
And it’s not just major fireworks that cause injuries and fires. Sparklers are a lot more dangerous than most people think, as they can ignite quickly and cause severe burns. Sparklers alone account for more than one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
However, there are alternatives to fireworks that allows everyone to celebrate Independence Day safely. First, there are still professional fireworks shows going on this Fourth of July. At BRA reservoirs, the Hell’s Gate Fireworks Show at Possum Kingdom Lake starts at 9 p.m. on July 4. The city of Granbury is holding a Fourth of July firework show at 9:45 p.m. as well. There are other social distance celebrations going on throughout the Brazos River basin, like the Milam County Fireworks Celebration in Cameron, Texas, and the Abilene Freedom Festival with a Fireworks Spectacular in Abilene, Texas.
Other than viewing professional fireworks show, glow sticks are a safer alternative to a sparkler. They glow in the dark, come in different colors, and are fun for all ages. Noisemakers are also a great, safer alternative to make a statement.
If you do decide to use 1.4G fireworks on your private property during the Fourth of July, be sure to follow these safety precautions provided by the National Safety Council.
- Always buy fireworks from an established fireworks retailer.
- Don’t allow children to handle fireworks.
- Never use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Always wear protective eyewear while handling explosives.
- Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Do not try to handle malfunctioning fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to extinguish fireworks.
- Never use illegal fireworks.
- Soak both used and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
For more information about fireworks safety, click here.