Fireworks | The Dangers of Celebration

Published on: 28/12/2019

Fireworks are fun, and there's no denying that. Who doesn't like colorful explosions lighting up the night sky? However, it's important to remember that fireworks are still dangerous explosives, and that safety should never be overpowered by spectacle.

Fireworks are a wonderful way to celebrate New Year's eve, or any huge event. Little rolls of paper filled with gunpowder that explode with a tiny pop when thrown on the ground. Rockets which shoot into the sky and leave a trail of sparks behind it before finally exploding in a cacophony of loud bangs and multi-colored sparks. Fountains of intimidating fire spouting from a bottle that nevertheless capture your attention. 

However, it's also important to remember that these beautiful explosions are still explosions. No matter how big or small, it still produces fire and it still explodes, so there's always the danger of injury. In this article, we will be discussing all of the known dangers of using fireworks, as well as some safe ways to celebrate with or without fireworks.


Harmful Effects

The Department of Health (DOH) have shown that fireworks release an inordinately high amount of dangerous chemicals when they are lit. These chemicals can cause irritation to the throat, nose or eyes. If inhaled, it may even cause headaches and general dizziness. Pregnant women, asthmatics, and people with heart conditions are the ones most prone to the danger of these chemicals. It can also worsen existing coughs or colds.

The loud noises caused by the explosion of fireworks are way above the safe levels of noise for the naked human ear, clocking in at 140 dB (decibels). Repetitive exposure to these loud noises may cause some hearing loss, aggravate those with high blood pressure, and of course, disturb the sensitive ears of your pets. 

Lastly, the obvious dangers of explosives apply even to recreational fireworks. Third degree burns, disfigurement and maiming of limbs are all possible injuries that can result from the improper handling of fireworks. 


Safe Ways to Celebrate

1. Learn Proper Fireworks Etiquette

Most articles like these may suggest you to simply stay away from fireworks altogether. While that is a good advice for those looking for alternative ways to celebrate the holidays, tradition is a hard habit to break. In light of this, it's more appropriate to teach people the proper ways to use fireworks instead of banning them altogether. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides a useful list of do's and don'ts below:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Adult supervision is a requirement, and that goes for other adults too. Two adults should be present so that maximum safety can be achieved.
  • Do not let any body part near an active firework. When lit, immediately back away at a safe distance from the firework.
  • If a firework is lit and turns out to be a dud, it's not a dud. Don't try and reignite it, because it might explode instantly instead.
  • Never direct your fireworks toward other people.
  • Make sure to light fireworks in a wide and spacious area away from flammables.
  • Even if a firework is "spent", pour water over it and stamp it out to make sure it doesn't blow up your garbage bag later.
  • Never buy illegal fireworks. There's a good reason some explosives are banned.


2. Play it Loudly through Air Horns and Loud Speakers

If you would rather not explode your neighborhood, you can still celebrate with some loud air horns or speakers. Play your holiday-appropriate music over the sound of air horns for a truly authentic celebration.


3. Brighten up the Night using Laser Pointers, Glow Sticks or Colorful Spotlights

In lieu of the flashing lights of fireworks, use glow sticks and laser pointers to brighten up the night. The more of them you have, the more impressive it will look from afar, just like fireworks.