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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Have fun, but be safe with fireworks

STILLWATER, Okla. – Fireworks are a time-honored way of celebrating Independence Day. Following a few important precautions will ensure your July 4 holiday festivities are not only fun, but also safe.

“The last thing you want is for a preventable accident or injury to put a damper on your good time,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist. “Fireworks can be beautiful, but they also can be dangerous.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people a day earn emergency room visits due to injuries from fireworks around the July 4 holiday. The majority of those injuries, 69 percent, were burns, with hands and fingers ranking as the most injured body parts.

Before purchasing or planning to use fireworks, check local ordinances to ensure they can be legally used in the area.

Fireworks should only be used outside in clear areas away from structures and vehicles.

Young children should not play with or ignite fireworks and an adult always should be present to supervise fireworks-related activities.

“Consider the age of all children when planning to use fireworks because even sparklers may not be appropriate,” Peek said.

When lighting the fuse, avoid leaning your body directly over the firework and do not point, throw or shoot fireworks at anyone.

“Light one fireworks device at a time and retreat to a safe distance immediately,” Peek said. “If a firework doesn’t ignite or is a dud, don’t try to light it again.”

As an added layer of safety, keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case of an emergency.

When finished, douse spent fireworks with water and put them in a metal trash can away from structures or combustible materials until the next day, when they can be disposed of safely.

Any illegal explosives, such as M-80s, M-100s and quarter sticks, should be reported to the fire or police department. Many law enforcement agencies consider these devices illegal because they exceed explosive weight limits set by the CPSC for consumer fireworks. State laws and local ordinances also may consider these devices illegal.

“Have fun and enjoy the fireworks, but use good judgment and be extremely careful,” Peek said.

For more information about safely using fireworks, contact the nearest county Extension office.


Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078