September 01, 2022
For many people, fireworks are a staple of the summer months and celebratory holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve. But the dazzling displays associated with fireworks can carry significant risks to you and other people. In fact, more than 10,000 Americans end up in the hospital due to firework injuries each year.
Always stand away from a lit firework to help prevent injury. There are also plenty of other dangers at play beyond lighting the fuse. Here are some things to be aware of whenever you’re setting off fireworks.
You may think first and foremost about the physical danger of an exploding firework, but the loud bang it creates can lead to hearing loss. Hearing loss from loud noises often can’t be reversed, meaning one summer night’s celebration could have life-long consequences.
Almost 20,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year. If you’re planning to set off fireworks, consider both the surroundings and the current fire warning level in your area. The U.S. Government issues danger levels based on temperature, recent rainfall, and other factors that raise the risk of starting a fire. It’s also important to consider where the debris from your fireworks will fall, and the possibility of igniting a structure or causing damage to someone else’s property.
Yes, fireworks are bright, but they’re also very loud. If you’re setting them off late at night, you’re going to wake up your neighbors — and that can include infants, people who need to wake up early for work, and those who may suffer from a sleep disorder. A bad night of sleep can lead to a whole host of health concerns, including exhaustion, poor productivity, and other symptoms of being not rested.
The noises associated with fireworks can cause those with post-traumatic stress disorder to suffer flashbacks, nightmares, or other symptoms. This is especially true for veterans, as fireworks may remind them of the experience of being in combat. Others, such as those recovering from gun violence or even car crashes, may have similar experiences. Think about who you’re with, who might live in your neighborhood, and their lived experience before setting off your fireworks.
Pets can also be traumatized by fireworks. Dogs hear more frequencies than humans and over much longer distances. Combined with the “fight-or-flight” reaction animals often have to loud noises, it's no surprise than setting off fireworks can put pets into a panic.
The safest way to see fireworks is to attend an event organized and managed by a city or town’s local government. These shows are usually planned well in advance and provide residents in the surrounding areas with time to prepare accordingly. But, if you’re going to set them off yourself, be sure to consider all the dangers that fireworks pose to you and others who live in your community.