12 safety tips for using fireworks this Canada Day long weekend

Boy-holding-a-sparkler TinnaPong/Shutterstock

Loud explosions, bright lights fountaining down over the lake. Fireworks can make anyone feel like a little kid again. But don’t get too carried away with child-like glee. Fireworks are still powerful pyrotechnic explosives and need to be handled with care. Here are 12 tips from Canada’s Natural Resources Department on how to avoid blowing off a few fingers this Canada Day long weekend.

1. Grab the shovel. Bury fireworks that do not have a base halfway in a container of earth or sand (such as a pail, box, or wheelbarrow) unless the label on the firework indicates otherwise. Set them at a 10-degree angle, pointing away from people.

2. Look out! Clear all obstacles out of the way and refer to the safety instructions on the firework’s label for minimum distances from spectators. No one wants grandma Betty’s wig blown off by a wayward explosion.

3. Be cool. Fireworks should be stored in a cool, dry, ventilated place, out of the reach of children.

4. Keep water nearby. Extinguish those used fireworks in a pail of water, including debris.

5. It’s all about that base. Use a good firing base such as a pail filled with earth or sand.

6. Light carefully. Always light the fuse at its tip.

7. Hold up, partner. Wait at least 30 minutes before approaching a firework that did not go off. Never try to relight a firework that did not go off. Never try to fix a firework that is defective.

8. Watch your fingers! Never try to light a firework or hold a lit firework in your hand unless the manufacturer’s instructions indicate that they are designed to be hand-held.

9. Get out your reading glasses. Read all instructions on the fireworks. Plan the order of firing before you begin.

10. Check those minors. People under 18 years old who use fireworks must be supervised by an adult.

11. Protect your eyes. You can’t enjoy the fireworks if you can’t see them. It’s recommended that safety glasses be worn while setting off fireworks.

12. Careful of the winds, Dorothy. Do not fire in windy conditions.

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