Fireworks Safety

Independence Day is synonymous with fireworks and celebration. They are a fun way to commemorate the holiday and enjoy a bit of excitement. Though awe-inspiring, fireworks can also be dangerous if not handled properly. It is important to use caution while enjoying this festivity.

As a reminder, fireworks are legal for purchase and transport in the unincorporated parts of Texas but could be restricted by your homeowners’ association, so make sure you check your deed restrictions. Further, bringing fireworks into many municipalities within Harris, Montgomery, and Fort Bend Counties can be illegal and carry heavy fines per violation, so keep that in mind when celebrating on Thursday evening and through the weekend. If you want to celebrate within the cities, be sure to check out local shows put on by professionals and save yourself the cleanup afterward!

Following the safety guidelines below will help keep you and your family safe from harm should you choose to light fireworks in the evenings. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC):

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper as this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Be sure to back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
  • Light fireworks one at a time.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks have burned out, douse the spent device with water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Be sure that fireworks are legal in your area before you buy or use them.

It is possible to enjoy fireworks while still being safe! Remember to steer clear of short fuses and suspicious packaging.

When it comes to safety, the numbers don’t lie; according to the NFPA:

  • Fireworks started an estimated 31,302 fires in 2022, including 3,504 structure fires, 887 vehicle fires, 26,492 outside fires, and 418 unclassified fires. These fires caused an estimated six civilian deaths, 44 civilian injuries, and $109M in direct property damage. (Note: Total may not equal sum because of rounding error.)
  • In 2022, U.S hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,200 people for fireworks-related injuries; Over half of those injuries were to the extremities (29% hands and fingers, 19% legs, 5% arms) and 35% were to the eyes or other parts of the head.
  • Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for 28% of the estimated 2022 injuries. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2022 Fireworks Annual Report.

Lastly, celebratory gunfire is always illegal in Texas cities with a population greater than 100,000. The crime of illegal discharge of a firearm within city limits is a misdemeanor punishable by as much as $4,000 in fines and one year in jail. Firing a celebratory bullet that harms another person could lead to a felony charge of deadly conduct, punishable by a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years.

Any issues involving gunshots, fire- and/or medical-related emergencies should always be directed to 911.

Did you find this article helpful? Share with your friends and neighbors on Facebook, X/Twitter, and Nextdoor!