Every year emergency crews respond to dozens of accidents and fires related to firework misuse. Steve Hester, Assistant Fire Chief with Great Falls Fire Rescue, says, "they're pyrotechnic! They have black powder and a lot of other stuff added to them".
In dry summer conditions it doesn't take much to start a fire. Hester says, "10mph wind will push a fire pretty fast". Bryan Slavik with Great Falls Police Department, says, "it's always good to have an extinguishing agent, fire extinguisher or at least a bucket of water".
A bucket of water is also useful to cool down fireworks after use, so they do not catch fire after disposal. Wait for the firework to cool before handling, and then Hester recommends, "put them in a bucket of water, soak them in that, and then throw them away".
Fire works are extremely hot and it's not just the loud fireworks that fly; sparklers are very dangerous. Hester explains that what burns on a sparkler is magnesium in powder form, making that wire red hot.
In addition to risks of fire, you're also at risk of getting burned. Hester says, "burns on your hands and your face, those seem to be the 2 most likely areas to get burned". Lighters and matches aren't good choices for lighting fireworks. A stick lighter will do the trick, but the best option is a punk. In fact Liberty Firework stands are giving away punks for free with your purchase to encourage firework safety.
Slavik advises, "if you light a fuse and it doesn't go off, it's best to discard it at that point. Trying to make it work is dangerous, we have a lot of accidents that way where people end up with pretty serious burns". Hester explains, "there's full thickness burns that can go clear through your skin and that's going to take skin grafts or some other invasive surgery to get that to come back because you've actually killed that part of your skin". Sometimes an infection following a burn can be worse, since your skin is your number one defense.
All fireworks have warning labels and instructions, for your safety and the safety of others, please follow those directions.