Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Warning: Fireworks Are Dangerous (and Can Be Traumatic for Some)

Picture of fireworks A fireworks show marks the conclusion of the Patriot Festival, July 3, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (Photo by: Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt, 23rd Wing Public Affairs).

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

With the 4th of July weekend on the horizon, many revelers will be adding fireworks to their holiday celebration — raising a host of safety concerns that could potentially ruin a party or cause serious injuries.

Fireworks safety is crucial for a happy and light-filled experience. The most important rule of thumb is to never mix alcohol and fireworks. Sloppiness can lead to injuries like losing a hand or an eye.

"Every year, about 10,000 people are treated for injuries in hospital emergency departments due to the mishandling of live, misfired, and waste consumer fireworks," said Michael Pritchard, a United States Fire Administration branch chief with the National Fire Programs.

"In addition, fires resulting from fireworks cause over $100 million in direct property damage," he said.

Some good advice is to "take part in and enjoy professional fireworks. You get the fun and the spectacle without taking on the risks," said Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Peay, 57th Wing Weapons Safety Manager at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

If you plan to set off your own fireworks, be sure to read and heed the warnings and instructions that come with the fireworks, Peay said.

Fireworks and PTSD don't mix well

Fireworks may be very unsettling to wounded warriors, especially those with post-traumatic stress disorder, said Joseph Nieves, who works as a new media manager in the public affairs office at Fort George Meade, Maryland.

"As a veteran struggling with PTSD, abrupt bangs and pops often provide me with a jolt of anxiety, usually for a brief moment before remembering that I am in a relatively safe place and it's probably something mundane," Nieves said.

However, "around the July 4th holidays, we know that fireworks are a national pastime for celebrating, so it's not usually a surprise, and that hit of anxiety isn't present. But, if you are a person dealing with PTSD symptoms and hearing a series of pops and booms are a problem, try using noise cancelling headphones to drown out or muffle the sounds," he suggested.

"This might be a way for you to experience the holiday celebration without the anxiety or fear that the fireworks may cause," Nieves said. "It may also be the path to being able to enjoy the holiday again like you did before you experienced the events that led to your dealing with PTSD."

Fireworks Safety Tips

  1. Always have an adult present. Do not let children set off fireworks
  2. Check your local laws and drought conditions to make sure fireworks are allowed in your area.
  3. Keep your distance once a firework is lit and approach duds with caution. Do not relight them.
  4. Direct fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets away from buildings.
  5. Do not point fireworks at other people.
  6. Don't attempt to light more than one firework at a time.
  7. Younger children should not be allowed to hold sparklers no matter how much fun they are. (The temperature of a typical sparkler is 1800°F to 3000°F, enough to burn skin and ignite clothing.)
  8. Always keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a garden hose handy when fireworks are involved.
  9. Thoroughly douse used fireworks in water before discarding.
  10. Keep your pets inside during fireworks displays. They can become anxious and frightened and may try to run away.
  11. Be a good neighbor. Alert your neighbors if you plan to shoot off fireworks so they can put their animals inside.

 

You also may be interested in...

Gearing Up: SERE Instructor Gives Tips for Hitting the Trail This Fall

Article
9/8/2021
Marines in civilian clothes hiking in mountains.

SERE instructor and Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Apolo Silva talks about some of the key things to keep in mind, as well as precautions you should take, before and during heading out into the wilderness this fall.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety

Plan your Float: Boating Safety Tips from the Coast Guard

Article
8/2/2021
Military personnel conducting boating safety patrols

Have a “Float Plan,” the Coast Guard says, when boating recreationally.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Safety Briefs: Don't be Boring and Use Real Examples

Article
7/21/2021
Marines receiving a safety brief

Two Marines share tips on how to make routine safety briefs both interesting and engaging.

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Water Safety Means: Know your Limitations

Article
7/16/2021
Military personnel participating in a swim call

Know your swimming rules and dangers

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Old-School Summer Safety Risks: Sun, Water, Insects and Alcohol

Article
7/15/2021
Children sitting by the pool

A preventive medicine doctor talks about an array of summer-related safety concerns.

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

MHS and MOS Town Hall To Your Health Summer Safety

Article
7/12/2021
Picture of Lt. Col. Christine Smetana

MHS and Military OneSource: To Your Health: Summer Safety Discussion with Lt. Col. Christine Smetana of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | MHS and Military OneSource To Your Health

Avoid summertime food poisoning with these easy tips

Article
7/9/2021
Someone cooking on a grill

Food safety in the summer is just as important as sunscreen

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Think Sunscreen and Water for Summer Sun Safety

Article
6/16/2021
SPF written in sunblock on someone's arm

Sun safety tips to keep you aware and healthy

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

Safety tips for the 101 critical days of summer

Article
6/3/2021
Food on a grill, a sparkler, and a child in a swimming pool

Summer safety is no accident. Tips for a safe 101 days of summer.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer’s here – stay safe!

Article
7/8/2020
Image of Coast Guard employee talking with man on boat

Remember these tips while enjoying the summer

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Summer Safety | Total Force Fitness

Earth, wind, and fire: Plan for health needs in emergencies

Article
7/7/2020
Men in protective suits dousing a flame with water from a hose

TRICARE, others offer resources for disaster preparedness

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Disaster Prep Toolkit

Summer PCS plans altered by COVID-19

Article
6/29/2020
Man wearing mask loading boxes into a car

Service members and families have suggestions to keep you safe.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Summer Safety

Proper hydration enhances warrior fitness

Article
6/17/2020
Soldier drinking from a water bottle

Learn the danger signals of dehydration

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Total Force Fitness

Exertional heat injuries pose annual threat to U.S. service members

Article
7/20/2017
Two U.S. service members perform duties in warm weather where they may be exposed to extreme heat conditions and a higher risk of heat illness.

Exertional heat injuries pose annual threat to U.S. service members, according to a study published in Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) peer-reviewed journal, the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Summer Safety
Showing results 1 - 14 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.