Though Independence Day was one week ago, the reverberating celebrations can still be heard throughout the valley. In fact, the entire month of July could effectively be dubbed Firework Season, because the same phenomenon seems to happen every year: Folks go to Walmart or some other firework distributor in the weeks leading up to Independence Day and, in their patriotic excitement, buy enough colorful dynamite to take down a skyscraper. Thus, for the entirety of the month of July, a loud processional of firework detonations can be heard most every night, somewhere. After all, one can’t let hundreds of dollars of fireworks simply go to waste. It would be un-American.
For that reason, it’s imperative that fire-safety procedures continue to be put into practice long after The 4th of July has passed. Unfortunately, July in Southwest Virginia tends to be hot, dry, and very flammable. One ill-fated spark could easily set an entire landscape aflame. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent these kinds of disasters from occurring, and they can be utilized year-round:
You’d be surprised how many people purchase legal dynamite and then fail to read the warning label. It’s no secret that fireworks can be extremely dangerous; that’s why firework manufacturers take great care to tell you exactly how and when their explosives should be used. Read directions carefully, and don’t mess around with illegal fireworks. Believe it or not, they are illegal for good reasons (plus, starting an accidental fire with an illegal firework is going to get you caught—quick).
Have Water on Hand
Whenever you’re around fireworks, it’s always a good idea to have water on hand. During these dry summer months, one stray spark really can spell disaster unless you have a way of quickly and efficiently handling it. Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher within an arm’s reach just in case disaster strikes.
Look Before You Light
Something about rainbow colored mini-bombs seems to make even the most composed adults as impulsive as toddlers. No matter how excited you are to try out your expensive pyrotechnics, don’t forget to carefully inspect the detonation area before lighting. Light away from dry grass, leaves, wood, or any other highly flammable objects. Stay clear of houses, cars, and all other pieces of property you don’t want to destroy. The best place to light off a firework, in fact, is far away from absolutely anything.
Don’t Let Kids Light Fireworks
Kids and fireworks just don’t mix. If you are interested in avoiding house fires, property destruction, and absolute unadulterated chaos, keep your kids under sufficient supervision when playing with explosives.
Keep Fireworks Away from Hands and Face
Your body is, for all intents and purposes, one of your most important pieces of property. Every year, thousands of people lose fingers to fireworks. That can really put a damper on just about anyone’s summer. So, for your own good, light fireworks on the ground or in an approved container, never on your own person.
Don’t Relight Fireworks
Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. In the case of fireworks, what failed to light once should never be lit again. Just let it be—trying to light a firework a second time could trigger an unexpected explosion. Once a firework has been lit, leave it alone for as long as possible, and then soak it in a bucket of water overnight before disposal.