Fireworks safety tips for a safe holiday

Father and son having fun and being safe with fireworks and sparklers on the beach.

Fireworks are beautiful and are often enjoyed as part of a celebration for holidays and events, but they are dangerous explosive devices that need to be handled with care. The improper use of fireworks can result in serious injury and damage to property. A safe way to enjoy the spectacle is to attend public fireworks shows handled by professionals. However, if you’re planning on doing your own fireworks this holiday, ensure you take some safety precautions that may help protect yourself, your audience and the surrounding area. 

Fireworks safety tips that may help prevent injuries and damage to property

Enjoy your fireworks display safely with these tips to help mitigate a potential accident:

  • Review the restrictions your province or municipality may have on where and when fireworks may be enjoyed. 
  • Purchase consumer-grade fireworks from a licensed retailer and be cautious when purchasing from roadside “pop-up” retailers. It's not recommended to purchase fireworks from individuals who may have obtained their fireworks from an unlicensed vendor, as fireworks safety conditions from unlicensed sellers cannot be determined or assessed.
  • Always store fireworks out of children’s reach and in a safe place away from any flammable material. Fireworks should also be kept away from property, such as cars or buildings, as well as away from dry grass and hazardous conditions.
  • Ensure there is a bucket of water, hose, or fire extinguisher nearby to extinguish any flames that may occur as a result of the fireworks. Be sure that any fire extinguisher has been inspected, is functional, and has not expired. 
  • Avoid the use of drugs or alcohol including smoking and wear safety glasses and keep your hands protected when lighting fireworks. 
  • Set fireworks off in an open space away from buildings, homes, dry fields, wooded areas or parks, while adhering to the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations to ensure the safety of anyone nearby. 
  • Use a sturdy firing base such as a fire-resistant pail with sand/earth, or another non-flammable surface. Never light a firework while it is in your hand. It’s also recommended that you ignite your fireworks behind a sturdy, non-flammable barrier to contain the blast and to shield onlookers from sparks or flames from tipped-over fireworks.
  • Anyone who is not igniting fireworks should stand a minimum of twenty-five feet away, while maintaining awareness in case of misfire, flying sparks, or if the firework tips over. Keep a first-aid kit handy in case of medical emergencies.
  • Never attempt to reignite fireworks - even if they haven’t gone off. Wait several minutes before approaching fireworks that have failed to go off. Douse the failed firework with water and dispose of it properly and immediately.
  • Immerse fireworks in water or sand before disposing to ensure that any burning material is completely extinguished and cannot ignite and cause damage.

More fireworks safety tips can be found on Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Safety Council.

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