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Better Business Bureau ®
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Metro Atlanta, Athens and NE Georgia
BBB Says Stay Safe: Fourth of July Warnings on the Dangers of Fireworks
June 28, 2014

BBB wants you and your family to enjoy the Fourth of July and especially to keep your kids safe.   Since fireworks, with the exception of sparklers, are currently illegal in Georgia, it is recommended that you attend public displays where professionals with licenses are shooting the fireworks.

Should you have fireworks or be at a private party where fireworks will be present, know the safety rules and especially know how to keep your children safe.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety offers these common sense safety tips for using consumer fireworks in the hopes that injuries to consumers can be greatly reduced this season. It is up to consumers to use fireworks in a safe and responsible manner:

  • Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
  • Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
  • Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
  • Always have water ready if you are using fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; Read the caution label before igniting.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
  • Lastly, soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor, fire resistant garbage can away from buildings and flammable materials. 

The National Fire Protection Association gives us the following eye-opening statistics on firework safety:

  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

And note these special safety tips, if using sparklers: 

  • Always remain standing while using sparklers. 
  • Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
  • Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.
  • Never throw sparklers.
  • Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.
  • Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.
  • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type. 

Believe you know everything about fireworks?  To test your knowledge about firework safety, try taking this quiz from the National Council on Firework Safety.

BBB wishes you a safe and happy Fourth of July!