Guest editorial: Fireworks are fun, when handled properly
Organizations such as Phantom Fireworks, the National Council on Fireworks Safety, the American Pyrotechnics Association and others publish guidelines containing simple rules for the use of consumer fireworks that, when followed, will make your use of consumer fireworks safe and enjoyable.
First and foremost, you must exercise good judgment and common sense when buying and using the products. Buy your products from reliable, licensed dealers. Beware of dealers who offer you special products from the back room that are not in compliance with federal law and are dangerous. You could subject yourself, your family, and your audience to substantial danger when using these products.
The fireworks products should be handled and ignited by a designated shooter a sober adult who is familiar with the firework safety rules. Never allow children to handle the products or be in close proximity to the products.
Make sure you use a clear, open area as your launch site and shoot your products from a hard flat surface. If you must shoot from a grassy or graveled area, lay down a piece of plywood to provide a hard, flat surface.
Make sure your audience is a safe distance from your launch site. Phantom Fireworks recommends a minimum distance between your launch site and your audience of 30 feet for fountains and ground-based products, and a minimum of 140 feet for all aerial products.
It is important that you have a ready source of water available in the event of an emergency. A connected hose is best. If that is unavailable, you should use a fire extinguisher or at a minimum a bucket of water.
Light only one firework device at a time and make sure that you use a long-neck butane lighter, a punk or Phantom’s Pyro Torch as an extended lighting device to keep you a safe distance from the product when you light it. Never allow any part of your body to be over the device or in the direct line of the product’s functionality path.
You should always make sure that you consider farm animals and pets when you are using firework products. The noise and lights of the fireworks often frighten animals, so it is important that your animals are indoors or otherwise secured to protect them from adverse exposure to the products.
These are some of the basic tips that Phantom Fireworks hopes its friends and customers will follow. The full list of the consumer fireworks safety tips can be found at the Fireworks University section of http://www.fireworks.com. We urge you to familiarize yourselves with all of the fireworks safety tips and follow them to ensure a safe fireworks experience.
Due to a combination of many factors, including the fireworks testing initiated in 1994 by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory, the efforts of companies like Phantom Fireworks and organizations such as the National Council on Fireworks Safety, American Pyrotechnics Association, Consumer Product Safety Commission and ATF, the firework products are better and safer than ever. The proof is that since 1994 fireworks use has increased some 77 percent from 117,000,000 pounds in 1994 to 207,500,000 pounds in 2012, while injuries over the same period have decreased over 30 percent from 12,500 in 1994 to 8,700 in 2012.
If we continue to work diligently on the safety message and people continue to follow the safety rules, we can improve the fireworks-related safety record and reduce injuries even further.
Let’s continue the great American tradition envisioned by John Adams of celebrating with fireworks when he wrote in 1776 that the Independence Day holiday "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore."
Enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.
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