Be aware of the hidden dangers of fireworks

For many people, fireworks are a staple of the summer months and
celebratory holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and New Year’s
Eve. But the dazzling displays associated with fireworks can carry
significant risks to you and other people. In fact,

more than 10,000 Americans end up in the hospital

due to firework injuries each year.

Always stand away from a lit firework to help prevent injury. There are
also plenty of other dangers at play beyond lighting the fuse. Here are
some things to be aware of whenever you’re setting off fireworks.

1. Hearing loss

You may think first and foremost about the physical danger of an exploding
firework, but the loud bang it creates can lead to hearing loss.
Hearing loss from loud noises often can’t be reversed, meaning one summer
night’s celebration could have life-long consequences.

2. Starting a fire


20,000 fires

are caused by fireworks every year. If you’re planning to set off
fireworks, consider both the surroundings and the

current fire warning level in your area
. The U.S. Government issues danger levels based on temperature, recent
rainfall, and other factors that raise the risk of starting a fire. It’s
also important to consider where the debris from your fireworks will fall,
and the possibility of igniting a structure or causing damage to someone
else’s property.

3. Waking up the neighborhood

Yes, fireworks are bright, but they’re also very loud. If you’re setting
them off late at night, you’re going to wake up your neighbors — and that
can include infants, people who need to wake up early for work, and those
who may suffer from a sleep disorder. A bad night of sleep can lead to a
whole host of health concerns, including exhaustion, poor productivity, and
other symptoms of being not rested.

4. Triggering trauma in others

The noises associated with fireworks can cause those with post-traumatic
stress disorder to suffer

flashbacks, nightmares, or other symptoms
. This is especially true for veterans, as fireworks may remind them of the
experience of being in combat. Others, such as those recovering from gun
violence or even car crashes, may have similar experiences. Think about who
you’re with, who might live in your neighborhood, and their lived
experience before setting off your fireworks.

5. Upsetting people’s pets

Pets can also be

traumatized by fireworks
. Dogs hear more frequencies than humans and over much longer distances.
Combined with the “fight-or-flight” reaction animals often have to loud
noises, it’s no surprise than setting off fireworks can put pets into a

The safest way to see fireworks is to attend an event organized and managed
by a city or town’s local government. These shows are usually planned well
in advance and provide residents in the surrounding areas with time to
prepare accordingly. But, if you’re going to set them off yourself, be sure
to consider all the dangers that fireworks pose to you and others who live
in your community.

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