Share the Fireworks’ Wonder; Please – No July 4th Blunder!
Few experiences provide a thrill quite like the collective “oohs” and “ahhhs” expressed by thousands gathered when a bursting skyrocket sparkles brilliantly against the celestial velvet black. The heart almost skips a beat when the thudding report of the exploding shell reaches the ground after a second’s delay. Together, all eyes stare upward in wonder as the multicolored shower twinkles with radiance before their cinders slowly dissolve and fade out. Before catching their next breath, the enthralled crowd gives another awed gasp as a new missile reaches the apex of its flight.
Watching Fourth of July fireworks is one of my earliest memories, and well over 50 years later, I’m pretty sure I still react to their stunning display just about the same way. I encourage anyone who wants to experience this thrill to attend one of the many spectacular public fireworks displays produced by pyrotechnic professionals.
Independence Day really has no business turning into “amateur night.” Each year, the National Safety Council reports numerous serious and fatal injuries resulting from amateurs setting off fireworks. In addition, thousands of structure and vehicle fires from fireworks cause millions of dollars in property damage. Thrill seeking on the Fourth should not involve a trip to the emergency room – or even a visit from the fire department or law enforcement.
If you do choose to indulge in your own fireworks show, please be sure these considerations are part of your safety plan (you have thought that out, haven’t you?):
- Closely supervise children around fireworks. Be sure they at a safe distance and won’t be injured if something falls over or sends burning material in an unintended direction.
- Beware of sparklers. Remember you are handling a wire burning at 2,000 degrees.
- Alcohol and drugs – whether you are lighting fireworks or just watching – make a dangerous activity even more hazardous.
- Know the laws in your community about the kinds of fireworks that are permitted and prohibited. Don’t use illegal fireworks. Keep cell phones nearby and be prepared to call the fire department at the first sign of an accident.
- Summer in California is usually a time of low humidity and high fire danger. Keep hot embers from igniting dry brush. Don’t be responsible for a destructive wildfire.
If these points sound discouraging, they sound that way on purpose. I’m really not a “stay off of my lawn” guy, but I do discourage you from do-it-yourself fireworks. Truly, your best practice on July 4 is to enjoy the fun and excitement of a professional fireworks display at a community park, fairgrounds, or beach. Celebrate America’s birthday safely with family, friends and neighbors. May your memories of the evening be happy ones!
About Tim Crawford
Tim Crawford worked at Keenan for more than 20 years. He appreciates the art and science of pyrotechnics and will be watching the pros own the night sky of New Mexico on the Fourth. Tim is a Certified Internet Marketer, chairs the Internet Marketing Association of New Mexico, and is a member of the California YMCA Board of Directors.