ESA Recommends a Cool Approach to Fireworks on Independence Day

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The Electronic Security Association reminds everyone that caution and common sense are the best ways to stay safe on July 4.

Families watching a fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Even sparklers can pose a risk for serious injury, since they burn at temperatures of nearly 2,000 degrees– hot enough to burn some metals.

The Fourth of July is one of the most anticipated holidays in the U.S., typically spent outdoors with family and friends. Whether you’re cooking out, camping or laying out on the beach, chances are you’ll end the day watching fireworks in a dark sky. Unfortunately, fire and injuries sometimes accompany the traditional July 4th celebrations. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fireworks caused 9,600 injuries, nearly 17,800 reported fires, eight deaths and $32 million in direct property damage in 2011.

To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Independence Day, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) offers these tips for celebrating with fireworks.

It’s important to use extreme caution when handling fireworks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggests these tips for using fireworks safely:

  •     Only purchase legal fireworks that are designed for consumer use.
  •     Never attempt to make your own fireworks.
  •     Only use fireworks outdoors and never ignite them in dry grass.
  •     Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Even sparklers can pose a risk for serious injury, since they burn at temperatures of nearly 2,000 degrees – hot enough to burn some metals.
  •     Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision.
  •     Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse, and back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  •     Light fireworks one at a time.
  •     Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  •     Never try to re-ignite or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  •     Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  •     Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  •     After fireworks are finished burning, completely douse them with water before discarding them into a metal trash bin.
  •     Keep a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire.

Before purchasing or using fireworks at your home, contact local authorities to find out if fireworks are legal or restricted in your area. Discharging fireworks illegally can result in fines of up to $2,000.

Fireworks are fun and exciting and many cities and towns provide community fireworks shows where you and your family can enjoy a dazzling display conducted by trained professionals. Be sure to sit a safe distance away from the firing area. After the show, be sure children do not pick up fireworks that may be left over – they may still be active and can cause serious injury.

This Fourth of July, make safety a priority for your family. Whether you decide to leave the fireworks display up to the professionals or create your own spectacle, a little preparation can ensure your family will have a blast.


Established in 1948, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) is the largest trade association representing the electronic life safety and security industry. Member companies install, integrate and monitor intrusion and fire detection, video surveillance and electronic access control systems for commercial, residential, industrial and governmental clients. In cooperation with an alliance of chapter associations, ESA provides technical and management training, government advocacy and delivers information, advice, tools, and services that members use to grow their businesses and prosper. ESA may be reached at (888) 447-1689 or on the Web at

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Laurie Knox

Bob Ogle
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