Have a safe and happy Fourth of July


The American Pyrotechnics Association details how to safely set off fireworks to avoid injuries this Fourth of July weekend.

1 How many people are injured by fireworks each year?

"Although the number of people enjoying fireworks today is significantly greater than ever before, the fireworks industry's numerous safety campaigns and consumer education programs are paying off, as evidenced by the amazing 44% decrease in the injury rate of fireworks-related accidents. Unfortunately, a large majority of these injuries are the result of the misuse of legal consumer items or the use of illegal explosives."

2 How do fireworks work?

"The basic ingredient of fireworks is black powder, also known as gunpowder. The "paints" used by a craftsman of a pyrotechnic device are the different chemicals added during production. These chemicals provide the dazzling array of colors and visual effects on the canvas of a night sky, as well as the sounds (reports) that accompany the burst. Once the materials are packed into the casing, a fuse is affixed so that the device can be safely ignited."

3 What fireworks are banned in Oklahoma?

"The sale, gift, distribution, or use of skyrockets with sticks, commonly known as bottle rockets, are prohibited within the state. Any and all consumer fireworks not properly labeled according to U.S. regulations are also prohibited."

4 How can I best enjoy a fireworks display?

"Don't get too close. Sitting at least 500 feet from the fireworks provides the best view of the show. Watch for the quality and brightness of the colors. Deep blue and dazzling white are especially difficult to produce. Count the number of explosions in a shell. High-quality display shells may have multiple explosions that vary in color. There should be no lag time in a professional show. There should always be something going on for you to enjoy. Resist the temptation to keep any leftover material you may find after a show. The professionals that put on the display will clean up all materials afterwards."

5 What precautions should people take when using fireworks this Fourth of July?

"Always read and follow the directions carefully. Only ignite fireworks outside in a well-cleared area. Have a responsible adult supervise all fireworks activities. Light fireworks one item at a time. Have a bucket of water available to dispose of used fireworks."

— McAlester News-Capital

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