You've heard the horror stories. Believe us — we have, too. But it's important to remember that you have the power to set off fireworks safely. This guide will explain some common safety mistakes people make and the steps you can take to avoid repeating them.
The 7 Deadly Fireworks Safety Sins
So what kind of mistakes do people make when lighting fireworks? Pyrotechnical slip-ups usually fall under one of seven categories. If you want a great show, avoid these seven mistakes:
- Lighting too many at once: It's easy to get carried away when you're excited, but lighting too many fireworks simultaneously can be dangerous. Stick to lighting one at a time to stay on the safe side.
- Throwing away the manual: Fireworks manufacturers print directions on the box for a reason. Always, always, ALWAYS follow the instructions when lighting fireworks for the best results.
- Forgetting preparations: Things go wrong sometimes. A firework could be aimed too low and start a ground fire or fail to ignite. Always have a bucket of water or a hose nearby, just in case.
- Smoking or drinking: This one should be a no-brainer. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or even e-cigs and vapes near fireworks is a disaster waiting to happen. Alcohol doesn't mix well with explosives, either, so save the drinks for the afterparty.
- Getting too close: Sticking around after igniting fireworks might sound fun to some, but fireworks are best enjoyed at a distance. Once you light up, run away to get the best show — and save your limbs.
- Being impatient: Let's say you're starting the show and your first Roman candle is taking a little too long to ignite. You could investigate what's wrong, but the firework could explode late and hurt you. Don't get injured — soak malfunctioning fireworks in water and throw them away.
- Holding live fireworks: This is just a bad idea. Stabilize your fireworks on a flat, even surface before setting them off. Your hands will thank you.
A Crash Course in Fireworks Safety
Knowing what not to do is fine and dandy, but what about the things you should do? Glad you asked! Follow these steps — and the directions on the package — to get started:
- Set the stage: Find a wide, open area with a flat surface to set your fireworks. Concrete is best, but if you're launching them on your lawn, water the grass before beginning to reduce flammability. If the ground is uneven, that's okay — you can improvise by using a wet piece of lumber as your launch pad.
- Clean up: Make sure there's nothing flammable nearby, like leaves, dry wood or buildings. That includes your clothes, too. Synthetic materials burn quickly, so leave the nylon in your drawers and suit up in cotton!
- Space out: Line up your display at least 15 feet from your audience — further if you'll be using big fireworks. Don't forget to choose a spot you can run to when the fireworks go off.
- Get backup: Fill up a five-gallon bucket about two-thirds full with water and keep it near the display area. This way, you'll be prepared if something goes wrong.
- Start the show: Use an extended lighter or punk to light the fireworks. It'll be easier to run to a safe distance when you don't have to get up close to set them off. Plus, you'll keep your hands.
Read our fireworks safety FAQ for more on how to light fireworks safely!
(Safely) Light Up the Sky With Red Apple Fireworks
At Red Apple Fireworks, we're dedicated to bringing new devotees to the pyro lifestyle. Check out our blog for news, announcements and more tips, or browse our Top 100 Guide to get some inspiration for your next extravaganza.