Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Warning: Fireworks Are Dangerous (and Can Be Traumatic for Some)

Image of Picture of fireworks. Click to open a larger version of the image. A fireworks show marks the conclusion of the Patriot Festival, July 3, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (Photo by: Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt, 23rd Wing Public Affairs).

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

With the 4th of July weekend on the horizon, many revelers will be adding fireworks to their holiday celebration — raising a host of safety concerns that could potentially ruin a party or cause serious injuries.

Fireworks safety is crucial for a happy and light-filled experience. The most important rule of thumb is to never mix alcohol and fireworks. Sloppiness can lead to injuries like losing a hand or an eye.

"Every year, about 10,000 people are treated for injuries in hospital emergency departments due to the mishandling of live, misfired, and waste consumer fireworks," said Michael Pritchard, a United States Fire Administration branch chief with the National Fire Programs.

"In addition, fires resulting from fireworks cause over $100 million in direct property damage," he said.

Some good advice is to "take part in and enjoy professional fireworks. You get the fun and the spectacle without taking on the risks," said Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Peay, 57th Wing Weapons Safety Manager at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

If you plan to set off your own fireworks, be sure to read and heed the warnings and instructions that come with the fireworks, Peay said.

Fireworks and PTSD don't mix well

Fireworks may be very unsettling to wounded warriors, especially those with post-traumatic stress disorder, said Joseph Nieves, who works as a new media manager in the public affairs office at Fort George Meade, Maryland.

"As a veteran struggling with PTSD, abrupt bangs and pops often provide me with a jolt of anxiety, usually for a brief moment before remembering that I am in a relatively safe place and it's probably something mundane," Nieves said.

However, "around the July 4th holidays, we know that fireworks are a national pastime for celebrating, so it's not usually a surprise, and that hit of anxiety isn't present. But, if you are a person dealing with PTSD symptoms and hearing a series of pops and booms are a problem, try using noise cancelling headphones to drown out or muffle the sounds," he suggested.

"This might be a way for you to experience the holiday celebration without the anxiety or fear that the fireworks may cause," Nieves said. "It may also be the path to being able to enjoy the holiday again like you did before you experienced the events that led to your dealing with PTSD."

Fireworks Safety Tips

  1. Always have an adult present. Do not let children set off fireworks
  2. Check your local laws and drought conditions to make sure fireworks are allowed in your area.
  3. Keep your distance once a firework is lit and approach duds with caution. Do not relight them.
  4. Direct fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets away from buildings.
  5. Do not point fireworks at other people.
  6. Don't attempt to light more than one firework at a time.
  7. Younger children should not be allowed to hold sparklers no matter how much fun they are. (The temperature of a typical sparkler is 1800°F to 3000°F, enough to burn skin and ignite clothing.)
  8. Always keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a garden hose handy when fireworks are involved.
  9. Thoroughly douse used fireworks in water before discarding.
  10. Keep your pets inside during fireworks displays. They can become anxious and frightened and may try to run away.
  11. Be a good neighbor. Alert your neighbors if you plan to shoot off fireworks so they can put their animals inside.

 

You also may be interested in...

Extreme Heat Safety Tips: Checking In with Older Adults

Infographic
6/29/2021
Extreme Heat Safety Tips: Checking In with Older Adults

If you have an older adult (age 65 and older) in your family, neighborhood, or community, check in with them during extreme heat, when temperatures are more hot or humid than normal. Older adults are more likely to experience heat-related health problems. Remember! Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable Ask yourself the following questions.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Extreme Heat: Safety Tips for Older Adults

Infographic
6/21/2021
Extreme Heat: Safety Tips for Older Adults

Older adults are more likely to suffer from heat-related health problems, according to the CDC. This infographic offers safety tips for older adults.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Extreme Heat: Safety Tips

Infographic
6/21/2021
Extreme Heat: Safety Tips

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Follow these tips to keep yourself and others safe.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Think Sunscreen and Water for Summer Sun Safety

Article
6/16/2021
SPF written in sunblock on someone's arm

Sun safety tips to keep you aware and healthy

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

Safety tips for the 101 critical days of summer

Article
6/3/2021
Food on a grill, a sparkler, and a child in a swimming pool

Summer safety is no accident. Tips for a safe 101 days of summer.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

Celebrate Summer 2

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 2

Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget your lips!”

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Celebrate Summer 3

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 3

Practice Safety Around Water. Reduce your risk of drowning

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Water Safety

Infographic
6/2/2021
Water Safety

Water Safety Reduce your Risk. Learn to swim. Wear a life jacket. Supervise children when around water. Avoid alcohol during water activities. Bring a friend

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Celebrate Summer 8

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 8

Practice Summer Safety

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Celebrate Summer 5

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 5

Please Drink Responsibly. Ensure everyone’s safety

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Celebrate Summer 6

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 6

Always Wear your helmet. When choosing a helmet: Be sure that it fits properly; wear it correctly; ensure that it is in good condition

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Celebrate Summer 4

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 4

Be sure to stay hydrated. Try this to help meet your water goals!

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Screensaver UV Safety

Infographic
6/2/2021
Screensaver UV Safety

UV Safety Month. Preserve your eyesight. UV blocking sunglasses protect your eyes year round

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

UV Safety v1b

Infographic
6/2/2021
UV Safety v1b

UV Safety Month. Preserve your eyesight. UV blocking sunglasses protect your eyes year round

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Celebrate Summer 7

Infographic
6/2/2021
Celebrate Summer 7

Beware of Mosquitoes. Protect yourself and avoid those pesky mosquitoes

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.