Government safety video reminds us that fireworks are no joke

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The fact that a “don’t fire explodey rockets at people’s faces” warning is necessary makes me weep with patriotic pride!


I don’t know about you, but now I want to recreate ALL of those scenarios! *

*Actual people optional


Ah - yes we are due for the annual posting of ‘look what goes wrong when someone sticks a firework in their arse and lights it’ videos.

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How to fail:

  1. Tell kids not to pay with fireworks
  2. Show kids really cool things you can do with fireworks

Missing warning:





I was just reading the NYTimes article about how fireworks display companies, due to a series of events, started off with a large surplus of fireworks before everything started getting canceled, and that it’s expensive to warehouse them. Which explains why the fireworks I’m hearing going off, day and night, are much, much more powerful than anything I’ve heard before. They’re the kind of fireworks intended for professional display, sold (illegally here) to individuals.

It’s been going on for months (coincidentally, it was in May, when the contracts for displays started getting canceled, that it started), with the bigger fireworks becoming more and more common over time. Normally there’s a spike in fireworks usage on Cinco de Mayo, and then it trails off and picks up at the end of June, for 4th of July. It didn’t trail off this year, it just increased. I didn’t get much sleep last night because they’d set them off every 15 minutes or so - I’d just start to drop off when I’d be jolted awake by a huge explosion, my heart racing. That’s been happening for a while, but they went on well into the wee hours of the morning last night. I began to understand how people with PTSD who are trigger by fireworks feel. In recent years, 4th of July has sounded like being in the middle of a war zone; I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like this year.

After two months of increasing fireworks-related stress, after worrying about the dog, who’s getting triggered every few hours during the day and all night long, trying to keep him from destroying the house (or himself), I’m having fantasies about what I’d like to do with the people setting off fireworks that overlaps with this safety video.


There’s a new one: Don’t handle fireworks after using hand sanitizer.


Where I am currently living fireworks are illegal, and yet my neighborhood has sounded like a war zone for the past month. It started slowing down last week but for a period of a couple weeks we could sit on the porch and there would be a constant barrage of all kinds, from machine-gun rat-at-at-tats to low howitzer thuds, from all directions and from across the street and up to a mile away. It would start before sunset, and go until two or three in the morning. I only just moved to this part of town but neighbors all say it’s wayyyy more than any previous year.

Aurally it was actually kind of amazing, and I wish I’d set up a 360-degree mic field to capture it when it was at its peak.

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I’m OK with a tax increase if it meant they could afford better music for the video.


Pfft, I spent New Years in Amsterdam, place really did feel like a war zone - intense. Around midnight the barrage was continuous for nearly 90 minutes, all over the city:

Seems that was the last year it will be allowed there, in future only proper professional fireworks displays allowed.

Walking through a quiet back street, a man and two women cycled past, all well dressed and about middle aged. They paused on a canal bridge ahead of me, threw down one of the loudest firecrackers I’d ever heard and cycled off cackling manically - I do love the Dutch…


Two fireworks notes.

  1. My forested Sierra Nevada county bans fireworks but our four incorporated cities allow their sale and idiots er I mean tourists from the SF Bay and Sacramento areas don’t heed county warnings. A lively NextDoor debate ensues. We here are keeping hoses handy because this is a FUCKING FIRE ZONE!!! And firefighter services have been cut back. Yikes.

  2. We were in Antigua Guatemala during Semana Santa (Holy / Easter week), browsing a downtown gallery, when we heard explosions outside. Oh fuck, a terrorist attack! No, merely a holy procession firing skyrockets, llarger than the rockets fired from churches every morning. Explosions are sacred there. Go figure.


A friend of mine says wait at least 5 minutes after sanitizing before you light up a cigarette. He set fire to his hands & beard.


What about free ranging your kids? Can free range kids use fireworks? Aren’t free range kids REQUIRED to play with fireworks?

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First of all, I’m a big proponent of sanity when it comes to fireworks. I live in a high fire danger area, and all the illegal fireworks out there give me the willies. I wish more places would offer professional, public fireworks displays so fewer people felt the need to go off and mess with the consumer stuff.

But holding a sparkler under close adult supervision is a magical memory of many childhoods.

Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.

Well, yes (and no), and that’s not actually as scary as it sounds.

Yes, temps can even go above 2000 F.

No, that doesn’t (just) melt metals, it actually causes them to burn. Those sparks are small burning bits of metal.

Have you ever reached into a hot oven to remove a sheet of aluminum foil from what you’re cooking? You can usually touch it with your bare skin because it has relatively low capacity for heat compared to your hand, largely because of the small mass and large surface area.

Though sparkler sparks can be an order of magnitude hotter than the foil in the oven, the sparks have an even smaller mass. A spark from a sparkler can burn your skin, but it probably won’t burn you very badly because the tiny mass can hold much energy.

Most of the sparklers I’ve ever held were a thin metal wire. You’d expect the heat of the burning slurry to conduct through the wire to your fingers, but it doesn’t.

I believe the serious burns occur when the burning body of the sparkler touches the skin (or eyes, or whatever). The continuing burning means heat is continuing to be generated, so you’re not protected the way you are by the tiny mass of the sparks themselves.

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