ATF Encourages Firework Safety this Fourth of July
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) encourages everyone to be safe this Fourth of July and has provided some important information regarding the use of fireworks during the holiday weekend.
There are many dangers associated with using illegal or improperly manufactured fireworks. Both can cause serious injuries, even death, according to the ATF.
Illegal fireworks are often wrapped in plain brown or white wrappers and are not marked. These fireworks do not meet safety standards and are considered dangerous even when they are not being used. Heat, shock or pressure can trigger an accidental detonation.
Consumer fireworks are fireworks that can be sold to the general public. These fireworks are generally wrapped in brightly colored paper and are marked with a trade name and manufacturing information. For consumer fireworks, ground devices cannot contain more than 50 milligrams of flash powder and aerial devices cannot contain more than 130 milligrams. Fireworks containing any more than that are considered display fireworks and require an ATF license or permit to handle.
The ATF said it works with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect people from the dangers of illegal explosives.
The CPSC advises citizens to never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks and to have adults supervise any firework activities.
The CPSC said no one should ever put their body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Safety officials recommend a person back up a safe distance after lighting fireworks and said users should not try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
Safety regulations note that users should light one firework at a time and should not point fireworks toward another person or set them off in metal or glass containers.
Once the fireworks have completed burning, the CPSC said, a user should douse them in a bucket of water or with a hose before throwing them away, to prevent a trash fire. Users are urged to keep a bucket of water or a hose close to where fireworks are being burned in case of a fire.
According to the CPSC, there were eight deaths and an estimated 11,400 consumers who sustained injuries related to fireworks in 2013. The group encourages people to follow the safety tips provided and to make sure fireworks are legal in their area before using them.