7 Tips for a Safer Fourth of July Fireworks Show

Is your town’s fireworks display canceled due to COVID-19? If you’re now thinking about setting off fireworks at home, use this advice to keep your family safe while enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday.

7:00 AM

Author | Brad Uren, M.D.

little girl sitting on grass watching fireworks

This article was updated on June 25, 2020.

Summer is here and Independence Day is upon us. It's a great time to celebrate with family and friends and see fireworks.

As an emergency physician, I see plenty of fireworks injuries each year that could easily be avoided. And while usually my number one tip is to leave the fireworks show to the experts, a considerable amount of those large shows are canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you're now planning to put on a small show for your family and friends at home, remember to responsibly social distance, have your viewers wear masks and remind yourself of the proper, and safe, ways to use fireworks with these quick tips:

1. Buy your fireworks from a reputable source.

Don't buy fireworks that aren't clearly labeled and packaged. Fireworks should have clear safety instructions on them. Buying from a reputable source can also decrease your chances of purchasing fireworks that have been tampered with or altered.

MORE FROM MICHIGAN: Sign up for our weekly newsletter

2. Keep your lighting area clear.

Make sure spectators are a safe distance away from the spot you intend to light the fireworks. It's also smart to check the area for anything flammable that may be easily ignited by a stray spark.

3. Follow the instructions.

Each firework has certain lighting requirements. Reading the instructions can minimize your chances of starting a fire or injuring yourself.

4. Have a way to put out small fires or duds.

It's a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher and bucket of water nearby should one of your fireworks create a small fire or simply not light properly.

5. Never relight a malfunctioning firework.

Consider that firework a loss! Your safety and life are not worth trying to relight a firework that may not be functioning properly and could self-combust.

6. Don't look into a dud.

If a firework doesn't seem to ignite or shoot off properly, don't mess with it. Many people are injured when looking into a firework to see what's wrong and then it happens to explode. Leave the dud alone, and at the end of the night safely spray it with water from a distance to make sure any stray flames are suppressed.

7. Remember: Sparklers are not a safer choice.

Parents tend to think sparklers are a fun and safer way for children to enjoy the holiday, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Sparklers are essentially an open flame and burn at an extremely high temperature. Add in young children running around with one in their hand and the possibility of injuries skyrockets.

Like Podcasts? Add the Michigan Medicine News Break to your Alexa-enabled device or subscribe for daily updates on iTunesGoogle Play and Stitcher.

More Articles About: Preventative health and wellness Urgent Care Preventing Injury Emergency & Trauma Care
Health Lab word mark overlaying blue cells
Health Lab

Explore a variety of healthcare news & stories by visiting the Health Lab home page for more articles.

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

[email protected]


Stay Informed

Want top health & research news weekly? Sign up for Health Lab’s newsletters today!

Featured News & Stories
Health Lab
Don’t Let These 7 Dangerous Foods Spoil Your Picnic
These 7 foods, when not handled properly, can be a food safety nightmare at your BBQ or picnic. Learn how to picnic safely all summer long.
Health Lab
6 Tips for a Safe Campout
U-M Wilderness Medicine Program Director shares camping safety advice. Some of his camping tips include how to stay connected and swim safely. Read the rest.
Exterior photograph of an urgent care clinic
Health Lab
Thinking outside the doctor’s office: How older adults use urgent care & in-store clinics
In the past two years, 60% of people age 50 to 80 have visited an urgent care clinic, or a clinic based in a retail store, workplace or vehicle, according to new findings from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.
News Release
$5.4M pediatric emergency services fast track clinic to serve lower acuity cases
University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital plans to build a $5.4 million emergency services fast track clinic to treat children, teens and young adults with lower acuity conditions.
gun with lock on it with key there gun is in black and background yellow and lock is white
Health Lab
Michigan’s new firearm injury prevention laws: What everyone should know
Michigan has a set of new laws related to firearms, all designed to reduce the risk of injury and death across the state.
Health Lab
Same patient. Different visit. Different race and ethnicity?
Data on the race and ethnicity of patients underpins efforts to reduce health care disparities, but a study shows inconsistent recording in emergency departments