Fireworks are a fun way to welcome the New Year.
However, according to the National Fire Protection Association, this seemingly fun activity can cause millions in property damage.
Even unlit and unused fireworks are lawsuits waiting to happen. Save yourself and others around you by disposing of unlit ones responsibly. You only need a few items to do this and the process is easy.
Safe Firework Disposal at Home
Unused fireworks are just as dangerous as the ones that are set off.
An errant spark can light them up. If you have some leftover from a party, destroy them before trashing them. Here is what you should do:
Fill a bucket with water.
Submerge the unused fireworks in the bucket. Leave them there overnight.
In the morning, double wrap the soaked fireworks in a trash bag.
Contact the local fire station or landfill to ask for disposal options. Someone can come to pick them up or drive to either location yourself.
Important Note: Whatever you do, don’t throw unused and dry fireworks in the trash! A lit cigarette butt can make them explode or go off. If the trash can is in your kitchen, the results can be tragic.
Safe Firework Disposal in a Store
If you own a store that sells fireworks and has some leftover, don’t save them indefinitely!
You have a duty of care to ensure your establishment and customers remain and feel safe. As such, you should take steps to ensure they don’t go off and damage inventory.
This includes packing fireworks in waterproof containers or in dry storage especially when the weather acts up.
A single lightning strike can make all of them go off. Damaged, illegal and unsold fireworks should be disposed of responsibly. Just follow these tips:
- Return unsold fireworks to the distributor you got them from. He/she may have a plan to dispose of them safely.
- Submerge wet or moist fireworks in water in a container that has a lid. Keep them there till you can dispose of them properly. Do not take them out to dry. The mixture inside will be unstable and can explode through spontaneous combustion.
- In case a large supply of fireworks is damaged, don’t dispose of them yourself. Ask a contractor who handles hazardous waste to do it for you. Or, ask the local fire department for disposal guidance.
Important Note: Never place unused fireworks on top of an electric appliance. A power surge can electrify the surface and make them go off.
Disposing of Unlit Sparklers
Sparklers may seem innocent, but unlit ones can become a hazard later. These slow-burning fireworks give off a shower of beautiful sparks when lit. Both children and adults love them, especially during celebrations.
However, while they may be less dangerous than explosive fireworks, even unlit sparklers can cause fires. Proper precautions should be taken for their disposal. Just follow these steps:
Fill a large bucket with chilled water. Make sure it is spacious enough to accommodate all of the unused sparklers.
Dump the sparklers in the water with the stick end pointing out.
Remove the soaked sparklers from the bucket after half an hour.
Place the sparklers in a plastic bag and secure the opening tightly with a plastic tie.
Place the trash bag in the trashcan.
Important Note: Call the local fire department if you have five tons of unused sparklers or more. A hazardous waste company can also help with safe disposal.
How to Safely Store Unused Fireworks
Prevention is better than cure as they say. Whether you are storing fireworks to sell or use later, storing them responsibly should be a priority. The following storage tips can ensure you can enjoy them later and prevent accidents:
Store in A Dry, Sealed, and Cool Place
Unused fireworks are almost useless when wet. Make sure you store yours in a sealed and dry place. Use a lidded container if you have a few, but store the fireworks you bought in bulk in the shed. However, do so only if the shed is not attached to your home.
If it is perfect, make sure space doesn’t have gasoline or anything flammable stored in it. It doesn’t take much to light dry fireworks.
Store Out Of Reach of Children
Children are curious by nature. If they know where you keep the fireworks, they may try to get at them and light them up for fun. Since they are too young to know better, it’s your responsibility to ensure they remain safe.
So make sure you store the fireworks in a locked shed or a container that they cannot get to.
Label Them Clearly
If you have a lot of containers that look the same, label all of them. You may remember which one you used as firework storage, but not weeks down the line.
Label all of the containers clearly to prevent confusion. Plus, it will also ensure that you don’t put anything flammable near the firework container or place it near the stove.
Keep the container apart from the others, just to be safe. It shouldn’t be handled too often either. Jostling can damage the fireworks and they can explode when ignited.
Store Away From Flammable Materials
Keep unlit fireworks away from the stove and anything flammable such as gasoline or oil.
Keep the Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Even if you take all of the aforementioned precautions, accidents can happen. Keep the fire extinguisher within easy reach to prevent tragedy.
You can quickly contain a fire if the fireworks go off inside. Keep one inside the shed if you keep the fireworks there.
Plus, make sure each one is in working order. Replace old fire extinguishers with new ones regularly. If a firework goes off, the last thing you need is an extinguisher that refuses to work.
How to Treat Injuries Sustained From Fireworks
Fireworks are basically controlled explosions. Unsafe or irresponsible handling can result in serious burns.
Here are some ways you can treat burn injuries that are caused by fireworks:
Treating First-Degree Burns
Sparklers can cause first degree burns. These are common in children.
They don’t know that they have to let go of it before the sparks reach their fingers. The burn can feel like a mild sunburn and should be treated accordingly:
Clean the burnt area with cool water. It will alleviate some of the pain for a while as well.
Cover the injury with a moist and clean dressing.
Important Note: Consider administering child-safe over-the-counter medication if the pain is too much to bear. Minor burns can inflame sensitive skin easily.
Treating Second-Degree Burns
Second-degree burns go skin deep and can lead to blistering.
These are common with exploding fireworks such as firecrackers. Here is how you can treat the injury safely:
Turn on the tap and place the affected limb area under the flowing water for at least 10 minutes. That is how long it will take for some of the pain to dissipate.
The cool water will also bring down the temperature of the injury. It can cause more damage otherwise.
Cover the cooled area with a wet, clean, and slim dressing. This will prevent infection from setting in.
Important Note: Whatever you do, do NOT break the blisters! Scars can form. Plus, do not apply any ointment on the burnt area. It can cause an infection.
Treating Third-Degree Burns
Third-degree burns from fireworks are quite serious and require immediate and professional medical intervention.
The injuries are skin deep, can damage nerve endings, and cause painful blisters.
Even if you are a trained medical professional, call an ambulance immediately. While you are waiting for it, do the following:
Remove the clothing covering the burn. Don’t do this if it is sealed to the skin because of the burn!
Turn on the tap and allow cool water to run over the burnt area for at least 10 minutes.
The drop in temperature will ease some of the pain and stop the damage from worsening.
Cover the burn in clean, thin dressing to prevent infection.
Important Note: Like for second-degree burns do NOT break the blisters! Scars can form. Plus, do not apply any ointment on the burnt area. It can cause an infection.
Treating Eye Injuries
Firework debris doesn’t disintegrate during the explosion completely. Some become sharp projectiles. If a piece gets into your eye, don’t rub it!
Get someone to drive you to the nearest hospital to get it cleaned professionally. You may scratch your cornea, doctors won’t.
Fireworks are live ammunition that can explode with a single spark. Use them responsibly by keeping the aforementioned tips in mind.
Store unused ones properly. If you don’t use them, discard them safely as soon as possible.
Unused fireworks can get damaged with time and under certain conditions. Lighting them again months after purchase can lead to devastating results.
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