News | June 29, 2020

How to stay safe when using consumer fireworks

By Fire Inspector Eric Crognale, DLA Installation Management Richmond, Fire Prevention Office and Dominique Shelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

Summertime is when many of us engage in what some might consider the most joyous of activities: spending time with friends and family, eating, drinking and watching fireworks light up the sky.

Despite professional firework displays being fun and exciting, many people feel the real fun takes place when this excitement is recreated in our own homes through the purchasing of store-bought fireworks made for personal use. Sadly enough, sometimes the results are disastrous.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every July Fourth thousands of people are injured using consumer fireworks. For this reason, knowing how to properly use these products is important.

While the National Safety Council recommends everyone enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals and not to use any fireworks at home, there are ways to use them so that you reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others.

If you decide to use legal fireworks, the Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond’s Fire Prevention Office offers these tips to help you do so safely.

Never hold a lighted firework in your hand. Have a garden hose or preferably a fire extinguisher on hand in case a fire starts. In addition, you should keep a bucket of water nearby to completely soak any unused or malfunctioning fireworks. Do not try to relight a firework that did not function; the object could go off unexpectedly when you approach and cause serious injury.

Be aware of those around you who might not react well to fireworks. Small children and pets can be frightened and easily overwhelmed by the lights and noises. Veterans who might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can have negative emotional reactions, with some reporting powerful flashbacks to their time in combat. Do what you can to be respectful of them and their situations.

While it is possible to enjoy fireworks from home, the risks involved are significant. Take it from your Fire Prevention Office, let the trained professionals handle the dangerous part so you and yours can simply enjoy the fun. If you have any questions about fireworks, firework safety, codes or laws about fireworks, you can contact us at, or by phone at 804-279-6782.