It's one of the most exciting holiday weekends, as we're all outside loving the summertime, celebrating our great country, and enjoying fireworks.  Of course we all know the dangers, yet each year we hear of tragedies.  Let's avoid that this year by brushing up on some basic safety tips.

Caps, sparklers, and snakes are the only legal fireworks within the State of Iowa.  ~Vance B. McKinnon III, Fire Marshal and Battalion Chief with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department

One of the biggest dangers is simply our inexperience with fireworks, and their unpredictability.  They seem to be harmless fun, but as well all know the consequences can be very dangerous.  In fact in 2014, there were over 10,000 injuries in the US, with almost a third being kids ages 10-14.  There's also an average of 20,000 fires reported due to fireworks. These are just a couple reasons why fireworks are illegal in Iowa.

Scary part is though, almost half the injuries are caused by... SPARKLERS... which are legal.  Did you know they can get up to 2,000 degrees?  Yikes!  So here's some good things to keep in mind this holiday, to keep you, and especially your kids, safe.

  • Make sure the fireworks you want are legal before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
  • Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

[VIA Linn Co Dept. of Public Health / Cedar Rapids Fire Department]