Four do’s and don’ts for fireworks

See list of fireworks, July 4 events here.

Professionals and amateurs alike are going to be igniting fireworks in the coming week.

Here are a few tips:

There are two types of fireworks – consumer and commercial. Fireworks for sale in stores such as Roman candles, skyrockets and sparklers are classified as consumer fireworks. Commercial fireworks are reserved for the professionals.

Montpelier-based Northstar Fireworks works with municipalities all around New England, such as Shelburne, Hinesburg and Burlington, and the company sells consumer fireworks at its stores.

Tom Swenson, general manager at Northstar Fireworks, has some advice for fireworks starters and goers alike:

First: Keep the critters inside or at home. Be kind and courteous to your neighbors by giving them a heads up if you plan to light fireworks so they also know to keep pets inside. Cats and dogs can be particularly sensitive to the loud sounds of fireworks.

Second: Don’t light up whilst lit. Oftentimes fireworks come out at the end of a BBQ after people have been drinking all day, so make sure there is a “sober responsible adult in charge,” Swenson said.

Third: Leave the consumer fireworks at home when you venture out to the big show. Crowds and fireworks, even sparklers, don’t really go together. The safe distance for consumer fireworks is 75 to 150 feet away, Swenson explained. Fireworks should also be lit on a hard, flat surface like a driveway.

Fourth: Stay behind the lines. Professional fireworks are designed to best be seen from 700 to 1,200 feet away, Swenson said. That’s always on his mind as he designs fireworks displays, so you can “see that perception of height differences in she shows,” he said.

The University of Vermont Medical Center’s trauma center sees about 12 to 15 fireworks-related injuries around the Fourth of July every year, according to data from the past three years. Those account for about 70 percent of all fireworks related injuries seen all year.

Data from UVM also revealed about 66 percent of those injured are men, and a third of those injured are minors.

“There are several safety tips for using fireworks,” said Christine Dillon, Injury Prevention Coordinator at the University of Vermont Medical Center. “Don’t use fireworks when impaired by alcohol. Never carry them in your pocket or leave them close to a flame. Don’t attempt to relight fireworks. But the best tip of all is probably to just not use fireworks at home.”

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