18 Dos and Don’ts of Fireworks Safety

By Wendi Hope Bishop, Editor

Fountains, cones, sparklers, fire crackers and bottle rockets. Everything you need for a festive holiday. Fireworks season is here, but everyone needs to follow the rules of fireworks safety to have a happy and safe 4th of July. Through all the excitement, proper care must be taken when handling fireworks to avoid serious injury. 

In 2005, four people died and approximately 10,800 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries—an increase from 2004.1 Almost 45 percent of these injuries were to children under 14 years of age. Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve were the two busiest times for emergency departments treating fireworks-related injuries. 

All fireworks are dangerous. Many federal and state laws prohibit various types of dangerous fireworks, which help lower the fireworks injury incident rate. For those areas where fireworks are legal, follow these tips to keep your holiday safe. 


  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface.
  • Buy fireworks from a licensed store or stand and never from someone’s house or from someone on the street.
  • Make sure your area is clear with no house, dry leaves and flammable materials nearby.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Wear eye protection, if you are the designated lighter, and never have any part of the body over the firework.
  • Dispose of all fireworks by soaking them in water first.


  • Light fireworks near other people.
  • Allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Light more than one firework at a time.
  • Try to relight fireworks that did not work.
  • Throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Drink and light fireworks.
  • Use illegal explosives.


Of course, the safest way to prevent injury is to leave the fireworks to the experts. However, if you apply these fireworks safety tips, you can celebrate this Independence Day the safe way. 

If there is a fireworks injury or fire, call 911 immediately. 

For more information on injuries and trauma, visit Emergency and Trauma Services

National Council on Fireworks Safety. 2007.
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2007. 

*UT Medical Center does not endorse the private use of fireworks. You are solely responsible for any fireworks usage. Fireworks should be left to professionals only.