On January 1, 2012 Michigan enacted a new fireworks law, allowing larger and more powerful fireworks to be sold and set off year round. At the time, the local fire departments expressed concerns about the potential dangers involving these more powerful explosives. While vendors of fireworks have reported annual sales of over $20,000,000, for the past four years there has been a definite uptick in noise complaints, injuries, and even deaths related to these explosives.
As the 4th of July holiday approaches for 2016, a fireworks ban is being considered due to the extremely dry conditions we are facing in Michigan. On June 29th, Michigan’s state fire marshal announced he is weighing the pros and cons of banning fireworks, as some cities take their own actions. The Village of Holly, in Oakland County, has already announced their own ban this holiday season.
Regardless of what the State of Michigan or local communities decide, this is the time of year to ensure that you are aware of firework safety, including the risks for both injury and fire. We in Michigan are experiencing drought conditions at this time and because of this, setting off fireworks in 2016 is even more dangerous than it was in 2015. To ensure the safety of both your family and your environment please follow the guidelines below to ensure that fireworks are used safely and responsibly.
If your city did not ban fireworks this season than please take these extra precautions;
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions and warnings, and only buy fireworks from authorized retailers.
- Only light fireworks outside in an open space.
- Stand far away and back off after lighting.
- Do not get risky: Don’t make your own fireworks, point or throw them at people, or carry them in your pockets.
- Have a bucket of water handy in case of emergencies. Then, when the fireworks stop burning, dunk them in the water bucket or spray with a hose.
- If a firework does not go off, do not try to relight it. Instead, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Never light a firework in a glass or metal container.
- Do not drink alcohol while lighting fireworks.
- Keep pets indoors and allow them to use the bathroom before setting of fireworks.
Did you know that even mild fireworks such as sparklers can get hot enough to burn through your clothing?! To prevent burn injuries, exercise extreme caution when lighting and holding fireworks. Children 12 and under should not hold sparklers and should remain spectators only.Glow sticks and jewelry have become a great replacement that will let younger children have some nighttime fun!
The bottom line: Use common sense, stay safe and be mindful of other people’s property.