Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bay's Fireworks Safety Rules

I am a rabid pyrotechnics enthusiast, yes, but I'm not insane. Here are the rules that make it possible for me to do my annual big show.

1. Warn the neighbors. It's only polite. Confine the firing of fireworks to the period of night between darkness and 10:00. After 10:30 is rude, period.

2. Only adults handle the fireworks or light the fuses. EVER.

3. No sparklers, bottle rockets, cherry bombs, or snakes. These are deceptively safe. Sparklers are the most dangerous of the bunch, because it's like holding a welding iron in your hand. I can't tell you how many friends I've had who've been badly burned with sparklers because they thought they were safe. The basic rule at our house is that if everyone thinks it's safe, it just isn't.

4. Fireworks belong in the open. If they'll be shooting into trees or overhanging branches, you're just asking for trouble.

5. Fireworks are stationary. They should be on sturdy stands that bring the fuses to about chest level for the adult who will be lighting the fuses. If you have to bend over in the dark to light the fuse, you're asking for trouble.

6. The adult lighting the fireworks must be *completely* sober. No exceptions to this rule.

7. No lawn mowers, gas cans, vehicles that work with an internal combustion engine, or electrical wires may be in the vicinity of the fireworks display area. This means a quarter of a mile.

8. No one may ever hold a firework and light the fuse. You cannot hold Roman candles while they are firing. This is just plain stupid. Stupidity does not mix well with compressed gunpowder.

9. Keep water hoses on and handy. Have buckets of water placed strategically in case of emergency. And, of course, there's a reason you keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen and garage, so get them out and keep them nearby, too.

10. Inspect your fireworks and fuses in the daylight. Check for loose fuses or grainy, loose gunpowder. If it's in evidence, don't use that one. Use this time both to inspect and to organize your things. Go ahead and unwrap the fuses for all the shells at once, and then return them to their original box until it's time to light them.

11. Anchor the launch tubes for your shells *thoroughly*. You do not want them to tip over and launch a shell at the spectators. After six shells, amateur after-market launch tubes are no longer structurally safe or viable. Pour water in it, remove it from the stand, and don't use it any more.

12. Pour water on all multi-shot boxes after they've finished firing.

13. If a unit doesn't work the first time you light the fuse, spray it with the water hose and stay away from it. Do not try to re-light it. This is a dud. It happens. Get over it.

14. If a shell's box says that it shoots the shells 400 feet in the air, that means it can launch a shell 400 feet toward spectators. Keep spectators FAR from your launch site.

If you're going to be lighting fireworks this year, *please* be safe!!!! It would be terrible way to end the best holiday of the year if you spent it in the ER. Blech. That place is no fun, no matter what day of the year it is! And, oh, I should tell about the time I spent the Fourth in the ER because my daughter stuck a sunflower seed in her ear..... Or no, maybe I shouldn't....

And yes, I'm still totally stoked about the things I got this year. I can't wait until Monday night!!!!!


At 4/7/05 12:07 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Well put! I was reading along and thinking, "Gee, what a serious topic for this usually giddy blog," but then I came across this gem: "Stupidity does not mix well with compressed gunpowder." Someone should put that on a bumper sticker and give it away free with every fireworks purchase.

Oh, and it's appropriate to address some topics seriously, anyway, like...well, like putting sunflower seeds in your ear.

At 11/7/05 10:46 AM, Blogger Jane said...

Found your blog!!!!!!!!

Boy, we should have had this article in hand for my brothers in law this fourth! (I just copied and pasted and sent to their office.)------->hope that's ok.
We almost had a horrible scene with our fireworks. I'll spare you the details.
~jane swanson

At 16/3/07 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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