4th of July safety tips

Following the spirit of Peter 44’s topic the other day How to survive this nasty heat wave of 110+ degrees, I wanted to compile some 4th of July safety tips. Really?? 4th of July safety tips? So don’t eat too many burgers and hot dogs and maybe wear safety glasses at the parades so people on the floats don’t throw candy and hit you in the eye? Well… there are more dangers to this holiday than and upset stomach from eating too many burgers, so here are the ones I came up with and comment below if you have any other tips or things to add to the ones I do.

  1. If lighting fireworks out on your driveway or in the middle of the street have a garden hose, fire extinguisher, and a 5 gallon bucket full of water ready. Pull cars away from where you will be lighting things and take a minute to look around your street for flammable brush, boxes, or anything else that may be nearby. 
  2. If a firework doesn’t go off, don’t disassemble it or try to light it again. Wait 30 seconds and then walk towards it with your hose and drench the sucker. Then submerge it in your 5 gallon bucket of water. In fact, take all of your spent and dud fireworks and store them in that bucket of water over night. In the morning drain the water and then throw away the firework shells.
  3. Having a first aid kit nearby can be handy in case someone gets a minor burn from a sparkler.
  4. Clear out any dry brush and material from your property. You don’t want a stray firework from your neighbor to catch and take down your house. See the below chart for a visualization of the danger of the 4th and wildfires.download
  5. Bring dogs inside to prevent them from getting scared and running away
  6. If you are aware of any Veterans in your neighborhood think twice about lighting fireworks near their home or sit down and ask if they are okay with it. I’ve heard some Veterans struggle with PTSD and dread the 4th because it is a trigger.
  7. If you are grilling, make sure not to grill next to your house or a fence because the heat could damage the wall or set it on fire.
  8. Don’t be stupid. A neighbor kid the other year lit a ground bloom (also known as a Flower) firework in his back pocket thinking it would be funny and it melted his pants and fused the fabric to his butt and gave him a severe burn. Don’t have roman candle fights with each other, it’s fun but stupid.

Take the steps now to be prepared for this potentially dangerous holiday and have fun! Happy Independence Day!


  • Comments (12)

    • 6

      My neighbor would have some clear safety glasses on when lighting fireworks. Probably a smart thing to do. 


      • 1

        That is a good suggestion that I missed. Thank you for your comment.

      • 1

        I had never thought about using eye protection to light fireworks but I actually have heard news reports after the fourth before of X amount of cases of bodily burns, X amount of cases of house fires, and X amount of cases of eye damage

    • 5

      Great list. I would just structure it a little differently: Renumber #5 and #7 as #1 and 2, and format the rest as a decision tree. The first question should be, “Was where you live a part of the United States in 1802?” If “yes”, direct to the remainder of the safety tips. If “no”, direct to, “DO NOT LIGHT FIREWORKS YOU LIVE IN A TINDERBOX.”

      Sorry to any firework fans out there. I’m just tired of seeing my whole state on fire. I tried moving to a different state, but it caught fire, too.

      We like to spend the 4th on the northern California coast. It’s super quiet, foggy, and everyone is terrified of wildfire, so it’s possible to get through the entire holiday weekend without reducing the dog to a panting, trembling bundle of frayed nerves and fur. 

      • 3

        Good morning PNW Sarah,

        This area was part of the US well prior to 1802. 

        It’s still like the rest of the fruited plain.

        The fireworks used could be signaling flares and with the overdevelopment here, presto: the volunteers are out extinguishing the startup.

        Fortunately for my specific area, it lightly rained last night.

      • 2

        Hope you have a nice quiet 4th of July. I’m sure this holiday is treated very differently in places where fire risks are significantly higher.

      • 5

        Thanks, Henry. Some parts of California and Oregon really don’t seem to go for the firework thing, but others really do. Local ordinances probably have something to do with it. I can imagine that some areas have had bans in place for so long that there isn’t much of a firework culture, but that’s just a guess.

    • 3

      Appreciated reading tip 6.

      Thank you Henry.

      I “work” this holiday and we do have some of these problems.

    • 3

      Bringing this great topic back to the top of the feed because it’s that time of year again. 

    • 4

      I’ll add two tips:

      • Make sure your pets have their collar with identification  on them 24/7 during the week of the fourth. Many people take their pet’s collars off when the animal is inside at home and only put it on when they go outside again. A scared animal can find a way out of the house, break through a screen door, or bolt out when someone opens a door to go in. 
      • Have your bug out bag packed and ready (which it always should be) because of the increase in fires around the fourth. You’d make extra preparations if a hurricane was coming your way right? So why not do the same against another threat of increased likelihood. 
    • 3

      Just saw this on Twitter:

      Readygov fireworks

      Full size image

      11,500 people treated in the ER due to fireworks in 2021!? And 9 people died last year due to them? That is just nuts.

      It looks like 34% of injuries were to legs, trunk, or arms which means that people probably are wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts due to the hot weather. You probably should wear long sleeve natural fiber materials that won’t melt onto your skin if a hot firework comes in contact with it.

    • 4

      Great post, Henry! I would add one tip that I have personal experience with: Carefully inspect the fireworks before you light them!

      A friend actually looked at a firework (I don’t know the actual name of it) that sits on the ground and shoots fireballs straight up. He noticed the fuse was loose, but decided to light it anyway. The fire from the fuse immediately fell down into the firework and caused a significant explosion before he could get away from it, resulting in first, second, and third degree burns.

      Another friend had a similar type firework with a plastic base. The base was broken. When he lit it, it fell over and shot the fireballs right into his garage. He had a small fire in the garage but luckily we were able to put it out.

      I was lighting a string of those giant sized sparklers for my grandchildren to watch. All were stuck in the ground and placed far enough apart so they wouldn’t ignite each other. Unfortunately, the material (Magnesium?) on one was broken. As soon as I lit it, the burning material sort of popped off the sparkler wire and landed on my hand. Did you know this stuff will stick to your skin when it’s burning? I ended up with severe burns on my hand that took over a month to heal properly.

      Again, inspect the fireworks carefully to make sure they are first quality and not damaged at all! BE safe and enjoy the holiday!