Fireworks safety makes Independence Day a blast

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Independence Day busy for fireworks retailers

By Reece Murphy

To say the week of July 4 is the busiest time of year for area fireworks retailers is an understatement. It is THE time of year.

According to Phantom Fireworks manager David Smith, the Fourth of July brings in  nearly four times the amount of business than the next busiest time of year, New Year’s.

From sparklers to 500 gram mortars, the strongest legal firework available without a license, South Carolina fireworks draw customers from as far as Virginia and beyond, Smith said. 

Smith said mortars and repeaters, or “cakes,” are the perennial best sellers, but this year there are some new items on the market selling well, such as fireworks with neon-colored strobes, and at least one brand new concept – daytime fireworks.

“They’re smoke repeaters, and they have the most vivid smoke I’ve ever seen,” Smith said. “They come in red, white and blue, assorted colors and purple. 

“It’s something to do before dark, between eating and all the fireworks,” he said. 

Smith said old-fashioned firecrackers still sell well, though public opinion is split – they’re a “love ‘em, or hate ‘em” kind of fireworks. 

For those who really “love ‘em,” Phantom has something really special.

“See that one?” Smith said, pointing to a roll of firecrackers nearly 2 feet in diameter. “That’s a roll of 16,000. It’ll last 40 minutes. Most people light both ends.”

Smith said he believes fireworks are so popular on Independence Day because they bring out the patriotism in Americans.

But while fireworks are a great way to show your patriotism, Smith said, the most important thing – is to be safe.

Though the danger of brush fire is minimized by all the rain we’ve had of late, Smith said there’s still plenty to keep in mind when it comes to safety.

Safety tips

With that in mind, here’s a list of tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety and Phantom Fireworks to keep you and yours safe this July 4:

– Only use fireworks outdoors.

– Obey state and local laws.

– Always have water handy with a hose or buckets of water. If water is not available, keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

– Have a cell phone nearby and call the local fire department quickly if fire breaks out.

– Only use fireworks as intended. Do not alter or combine them.

– Use a Pyrotorch or punks to light fireworks rather than cigarette lighters. 

– Keep fireworks on a level surface.

– Use common sense. Keep spectators at a safe distance, and the shooter should wear protective goggles.

– Do not stand or lean over fireworks.

– Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a designated sober shooter.

– It is illegal for children under 14 to light fireworks.

– Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

– After shooting off fireworks, keep an eye on the area for 20-30 minutes.  

– Only children over age 12 should use sparklers.

– Lock your elbow and wrist when using sparklers to keep from slinging sparks.

– Do not hold Roman candles in your hand.  

– Never use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives.  

– It is against state law to shoot off fireworks within 600 feet of a church or cemetery.

– It is against state law to shoot off fireworks within 75 feet of a fireworks store.


 Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151