6 simple things you can do to stay safe around fireworks this Fourth of July.

Happy July Fourth, everybody!

We all know fireworks can be a lot of fun, but they can also be really dangerous (like really, really dangerous).

In 2016, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC), four people died as the result of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S., and around 11,100 people were injured.

Luckily, the USCPSC has a number of helpful resources on their website for avoiding injury, as well videos demonstrating how to safely use fireworks. They even have a PSA from New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, a star football player who lost his right index finger to a fireworks accident in 2015.


Here are six easy steps you can take to greatly reduce your chance of injury, while still being able to have fireworks fun this summer.

1. Never let children light fireworks and have them keep a safe distance from any explosives.

Children under the age of 15 made up 31% of all fireworks-related injuries in 2016. Even sparklers can be dangerous, burning at around 2,000 degrees!

All GIFs from USCPSC/YouTube.

2. Never try to re-light fireworks that didn't go off.

Sometimes a dud isn't actually a dud. Even if it was just a case of the fuse fizzling out before it reached the end, there's a reason it's as long as it is to begin with: to give you enough time to get a safe distance away. Lighting a short fuse is a bad idea. Douse the firework with water and move on.

3. Don't point fireworks at other people, and make sure there's nothing in their flight path before igniting the fuse.

Roman candles, bottle rockets, and other smaller explosives are no exception. These can all cause some pretty significant injuries.

4. Keep a hose and a bucket of water nearby, and be sure to douse all spent fireworks in water after they're done burning.

After your fireworks are spent, hit them with a quick blast of water to neutralize any residual explosive powder. And since you're working with fire anyway, the hose and bucket are good to have on hand in case something goes wrong.

5. Don't set off fireworks in metal or glass containers.

If flying shards of glass and metal shrapnel aren't welcome editions to your Fourth of July festivities, it's probably best not to use empty bottles or metal containers as makeshift launchpads.

6. Most importantly, leave the professional fireworks to the professionals.

Following the guidelines in the five tips above will ensure safety for you and your family while lighting bottle rockets, sparklers, Roman candles, smoke bombs, and firecrackers. When it comes to the bigger shows and sky-high fireworks, however, the absolute best thing you can do is to leave it up to the pros.

Pack some snacks, a blanket or a few lawn chairs, and check out your local news or government website to find out where the nearest fireworks display is happening.

Because, to paraphrase "The Simpsons," what better way to celebrate the independence of your nation than to blow up a small part of it?

Check out this 2017 video from the USCPSC for more useful tips about fireworks safety. (Additional videos from 2015 and 2016 can be found on the organization's YouTube page.)

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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