Keep safety in mind this fireworks season

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

Tulalip’s Boom City is upon us once again. And with that, comes the variety of explosive, incendiary fireworks, which have become synonymous with Independence Day, or known around rez as the fourth. Lighting fireworks is a long-standing tradition with local families who have participated for generations, while some critics wish they would get rid of them altogether. 

In recent years, media outlets have been highlighting the dangers of lighting fireworks. Yes, fireworks have an element of danger to them, and are not to be taken lightly. However, with the proper techniques and the right safety precautions in mind, fireworks can be enjoyed by many. 

The first step to fireworks safety is to be pre-emptive. This means to think about what you are doing and prepare for accidents that might happen. For example, when finding a spot to light fireworks make sure that there is a flat surface, and nothing in the way of the projectiles. This way you don’t have to worry about the firework tipping over or hitting a tree, light post, or house. 

Have a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher, a hose, or all three readily available to help with extinguishing any sparks that might go into your yard. These are also great to have if the fireworks fail to go off. Do not try and re-light the firework. Instead douse with water, or put into a bucket of water. 

Often, age is a factor. What age is right for your child to be lighting fireworks or holding sparklers? Many firework manufacturers would say it’s preferred if the person lighting the fireworks were over the age of 18. Though some fireworks are considered less dangerous and can be used by youth, with parental supervision. 

Safer items that are easier and not as dangerous are such things like fountains, sparklers, and novelty items that spin in place on the ground or have very little crackling effects. There are also pop-its and snappers. Pop-it’s you throw on the ground, and snappers you usually pull the string or trigger to shoot confetti. These are examples of fireworks that can handled by responsible kids with their parents watching over them. Remember sometimes just telling your child isn’t enough, you need to show them 

A very helpful tool for lighting fireworks is a punk, which allow people to light fireworks without getting their hands close to the flame and ignition. This is where most injuries occur. Trying to use lighters and matches next to fuses that shoot off sparks can causing burns to your hands. With punks you light it once and it stays smoldering for a few minutes allowing the user to light multiple items. Punks are usually 12 to 16 inches long giving plenty of space between your fingers and the firework ignition. 

Remember your neighbors when lighting fireworks. People have different schedules, and also may have young kids or animals. Take them into consideration, be respectful and try lighting fireworks during appropriate times. 

Everybody who enjoys fireworks wants to have a good time. Just remember to be conscientious about what you are doing. Apply safety measures to ensure a less likely chance of an accident. And be respectful of your community.