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- Let the pros handle it. Your safest bet is to leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy the big show from a safe distance.
- No kids allowed. Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers. Never. Older children should only be allowed to use fireworks under tight adult supervision.
- Keep it legal. Check with local police to see what devices are legal to use in your area. Several states, including New York and New Jersey, ban all consumer fireworks, including sparklers. Check the CPSC full list of state laws. Don't experiment or try to make your own. And, of course, legal doesn't mean safe. According to the CSPC, illegal products cause only about 2% percent of firecracker injuries.
- Look for labels and read the instructions. The manufacturer's name, instructions, and warnings are required by law. So if they are missing, you probably have a counterfeit product that could be even more dangerous than legal fireworks. A 2004 test by the CPSC and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection of imported fireworks shipments found that nearly 28 percent of the products violated federal safety standards.
- Check for recalls. Make sure the product you have has not been recalled. Go to the CPSC Web site for recalls.
- Stay alert. Never mix alcohol and fireworks.
- Know how it works. A fuse is not a simple wick; it contains powder and is designed to burn from 3 to 9 seconds.
- Keep fireworks flat. And never ignite them in a container, especially one made of glass or metal.
- Think ahead. Anticipate what will happen if winds change abruptly.
- Maintain a safe distance. Don't stand (or keep any body parts) directly over fireworks while lighting them.
- All clear. Make sure everyone else is out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Take precautions. Keep a bucket of water handy.
- Let sleeping fireworks lie. Don't try to relight fireworks that don't ignite. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
- Ear and eye guards. Consider wearing hearing protection for items that make noise, as well as eye protection.
- Fast first aid. If you do get injured from fireworks, seek immediate medical help. For eye injuries, don't rub or apply pressure to the eye itself.