Holiday Etiqutte: Fourth of July Fireworks

Lighting fireworks is an expected festivity when many of us celebrate our country’s independence. This Fourth of July, if you want to plan your own fireworks show, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Check to see if shooting fireworks is legal in your zip code. Many cities do not allow Fourth of July fireworks within city limits. Even past the city limits, lighting fireworks in the middle of a dry field, your backyard or on a country road can be dangerous and even illegal. Use your best judgment and check it out with the appropriate authorities first.

Children don’t know what’s best. Just because your kids want to shoot off firecrackers doesn’t mean they should…and definitely not without adult supervision. Small children should not handle 1200 degree fireworks unsupervised.  If your children are visiting another home for the evening events, don’t hesitate to ask what the plans are and who will be overseeing the fireworks festivities.  Don’t forget to put closed-toe shoes on your kiddos as a precautionary measure.

Keep your pets safe and calm. Many of our pets, especially dogs, react negatively to the sounds and commotion created by fireworks. Find a place where your pets are comfortable and the noise is muffled so your four-legged children can’t cause any harm to themselves or others.

Have a first aid kit nearby. Anti-biotic lotion and Aloe Vera gel are two “must haves” in your first aid kit for emergency care. But, if any of your guests get severely burned (and I certainly hope not), don’t hesitate to take them to the nearest ER. Yes, even sparklers can burn you!

A bucket of water or hose should not be too far away. For those emergency situations where the grass catches fire or worse, it’s important to have a source of water readily available for dousing out the flames.

Don’t drink and light. Only sober adults should handle the lighting of the fireworks. If you have enjoyed one too many, delegate the job to another adult that has been drinking diet soda. Can’t find one – turn on the music and dance instead.

Know when to say “good night.” Be respectful of your neighbors and quiet down after a short and sufficient period of time. Just because you are enjoying fireworks until the wee hours of the morning doesn’t mean those living around you are doing the same.

Going to a big fireworks display? Allow plenty of travel and parking time and don’t forget your lawn chairs and blankets.  Bring earplugs for little ones and those who are sensitive to loud noises. If a young child has never seen a Fourth of July fireworks display before, it’s difficult to know if they will love it or be terrified. Bring lots or water and a few snacks for the drive and heat.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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