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Fortify Yourself from a Firework Fiasco

Jun 30, 2016, 12:31 PM
GRMC fireworksFireworks during the Fourth of July are about as American as apple pie. With the Fourth of July right around the corner, keep fireworks safety at the forefront of your mind.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), consumer fireworks retailers are reporting a sales increase of approximately $50 million from last year as families begin to prepare for Fourth of July celebrations. While there is typically an increase in fireworks purchases around the Fourth of July, the additional projected sales increase means consumers should become educated about fireworks safety to decrease their chances of injury.

The risk of potential injury can result from any consumer fireworks, from sparklers to roman candles. Reports from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conclude the potential for injury increases around the Fourth of July. Between June 20, 2014, and July 20, 2014, there were an estimated 7,000 fireworks-related injuries that accounted for 67 percent of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries during the year.

The APA created a safety guide that they encourage consumers to become familiar with before purchasing or using fireworks. Review the APA’s helpful tips so you and your family can stay safe this Fourth of July.

Before purchasing fireworks, check your local regulations regarding fireworks use. For instance, many communities do not allow fireworks to be used inside city limits and during burn bans, and some communities have age limits for purchasing fireworks. 

Purchase fireworks from an accredited company that sells legal fireworks. 

After purchasing fireworks, always store them in a cool, dry place. 

Determine a safe location for use in an open area with a connected hose, bucket of water, or other water source nearby. 

Make sure to follow all instructions on the packaging for safe use.

Never let children handle or operate fireworks. 

After using your fireworks, allow used fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes, then soak the remaining tubes and materials in water, drain, place in a plastic bag and dispose outside in a covered trash can. 

Be thoughtful to those among us – such as military service men and women and even pets and other animals – that may have sensitivities to the loud noises fireworks can generate. 

If your plans include lighting off fireworks this holiday weekend, remember every consumer fireworks injury is preventable. Taking precautions while handling fireworks big or small can keep you from getting burned.

While fireworks safety is a concern, the State Fire Marshal Office reminds people about the consequences of illegal fireworks use this time of year. Legal fireworks in the state of Iowa include novelties and sparklers while all other consumer fireworks are still illegal. People illegally shooting off fireworks could be fined for a simple misdemeanor. If property damage or personal injury resulting from illegal firework use, you can be held criminally responsible.

Below are the Iowa laws for consumer fireworks.

Gold sparklers containing no magnesium, chlorate or perchlorate, flitter sparklers in paper tubes not more that ⅛” inch diameter, and snakes containing no mercury.

Firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles, and any other explosive composition or combination of explosive substances prepared to produce a visible or audible effect, excluding the items specifically permitted.

Not sure when or where the fireworks are happening? Check out to find professional fireworks displays throughout Iowa.


Written by Miranda Jones, GRMC summer intern