Spotting defective fireworks

(KSNT) — A federal report shows 18 people were killed by recreational fireworks in the U.S. in 2020. Over 15,000 went to the emergency room, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of those accidents were caused by human error, but it’s also important to make sure the fireworks you are using are in safe working order to begin with.

Experts say there are some telltale signs of a firework that is not safe to set off:

  • Powder: In a range of various textures and colors, powder leaking from a firework means don’t light it
  • Torn packaging: Cardboard can easily damage and tear, and attempting a repair with tape could affect the flight path of combustion
This firework has a broken bottom, meaning it may not sit properly before going off. (KSNT Photo/Preston Wilson)
  • Broken bottoms: Often caused during shipping, bent or broken bottoms can disrupt how the firework sits and the angle it fires
  • Missing wicks: If a wick falls out, don’t try to add a new wick or light it without one
The firework on the right shows signs of water damage. (KSNT Photo/Preston Wilson)
  • Water damage: Soggy or stained packaging and bleeding ink could indicate water damage, which might affect the ignition powder

Regardless of whether the firework has been ignited or not, proper disposal is important to avoid costly accidents. Avoid putting any fireworks in the trash with other flammable materials. Be sure to water or hose down all of the remains and let them sit for 24 hours to ensure that all of the embers have settled. And above all, you should follow New York’s regulations that outlaw almost all at-home displays.

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