Keep Fireworks Fun by Playing it Safe
Reflect back on happy childhood summer memories, and most would include a fireworks show at some point. There’s something about the audible hiss and pop of fireworks exploding, as well as the visual display that impresses and awes us all.
But not everyone that watches fireworks leaves without harm. Improper use can lead to burns of campers and those igniting the fireworks; and sparks or debris landing on anything flammable can lead to fires.
In fact, the latest data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that an average of 230 people go to emergency rooms every day due to fireworks in the month surrounding July 4th celebrations.
If your camp is going to take on the risks of a fireworks display, it’s important that responsible parties put together a safety plan for users and viewers alike.
Purchasing fireworks responsibly
Here’s an interesting fact: Over 41% of imported fireworks that were selected and tested by the CPSC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2014 were found to contain banned hazardous substances. That’s a scary thought for consumers.
What to consider when buying fireworks:
- Check with your insurance carrier. You’ll want to make sure that your fireworks display (or campers using sparklers, etc.) is covered by your insurance plan. You may gather some important tips that you hadn’t thought about yet.
- Only purchase legal fireworks. The safest way to purchase fireworks is to do so through a reputable source. Make sure you consult your state and local guidelines regarding fireworks.
- Find a licensed distributor. Whether you buy fireworks at a retail store or through a roadside stand, ask to make sure the seller has a license for distributing.
Setting up for an aerial fireworks display
Excitement over an aerial fireworks display is palpable for families and campers alike. But tip-overs, brush or grass fires, and accidents happen with even the best of intentions. Be sure to think through the following before your launch:
- Use a professional licensed contractor. Above all else, the safety of everyone around the fireworks display is paramount. A professional has the experience and training necessary to make your event run smoothly.
- Ask to be added to insurance. Your camp should be able to be added as “additional insured” on the licensed contractor’s insurance policy.
- Follow the law. Contact your local emergency services to alert them to the event. Also be sure to obtain any permits, if necessary in your area.
Protecting your campers during fireworks
Whether viewing your own fireworks or a public display, it’s important to prep your campers and families before the event. Everyone should be aware of the risks and be cautioned about how to respond in an emergency.
- Your campers should be a safe distance from any falling debris and the firing platform.
- Prior to the show create an evacuation path and plan for everyone who is within the viewing area.
- Important weather considerations like wind and moisture levels should also be factored in if your camp is hosting the display.
- Create a Camp Host Toolkit. Include items such as a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, flashlights, a cellphone to contact emergency services, and a water source.
Small fireworks can cause a big problem
All camps want to keep their kids and families safe. One of the ways to achieve that goal is to regulate the use of smaller fireworks within your camp. Ground display fireworks, such as sparklers, firecrackers, and other novelties cause more injuries than any other firework category. Did you know that sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees or more?
Safety tips for ground display fireworks include:
- Avoid using near combustible materials.
- Never use indoors.
- Always have adult supervision.
- Never allow small children to use fireworks of any sort.
- Always have an extinguishing source such as water.
Ending the fun on a positive note
Avoid the heartache of fireworks injuries by following the safety tips offered. When the fun is done, make sure to dispose of spent fireworks properly, and never trash unused fireworks in an incendiary device or campfire. Wet down all used fireworks, and store in a metal trash container away from other materials that could catch fire.
By utilizing the tips here for fireworks safety, there will be wonderful memories of your fireworks display. Most importantly, everyone will sleep soundly knowing it was a safe event.