Texas Tech University

Experts Available to Discuss Firework Safety

Amanda Bowman

June 26, 2018

With the Fourth of July next week, knowing how to safely handle and store fireworks is a major concern.

Pitch

The Fourth of July celebrates the United States' independence from England, and with that celebration comes a long-standing tradition of setting off fireworks. What some people may fail to realize is that fireworks are made with explosive materials that can cause burns, dismemberment and even death if handled improperly.

Texas Tech University's Michelle Pantoya, J.W. Wright Regents Chairwoman in mechanical engineering and a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering , and Brandon Weeks, the associate dean of research and graduate programs, interim department chairman of mechanical engineering and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, are available to discuss the potential safety hazards of fireworks, how to properly dispose of used fireworks and how to safely store unused fireworks.

Experts

Michelle Pantoya, J.W. Wright Regents Chairwoman in mechanical engineering and professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering,michelle.pantoya@ttu.edu

Brandon Weeks, associate dean of Research and Graduate Programs, interim department chairman of mechanical engineering and professor of chemical engineering, brandon.weeks@ttu.edu

Talking Points

  • Whether it's water, sand or dirt, always have something on hand to extinguish the firework before disposing of the remaining packaging.
  • It's never a good idea to attempt to relight a firework “dud.”
  • It's important to read and understand the instructions before lighting fireworks.
  • Fireworks and alcohol never mix.

Quotes

  • “Whether it be a bucket of sand or a hose from your garden, you need something to put out the fire.” (Pantoya)
  • “If you are tinkering with it (firework) because you don't understand why it didn't go off and you're handling it, it's the handling that is dangerous.” (Pantoya)
  • “When people are using fireworks, they don't usually take the time to read the instructions, and each firework may be different from the next in what they do.” (Weeks)
  • “Alcohol and fireworks don't mix. A lot of accidents with people involving fireworks involves alcohol. It's as simple as that.” (Weeks)
  • “Only keep one or two ignitors available so kids can't run around and ignite things.” (Pantoya)
  • “Even driving down the road is something you need to be very slow and careful about because fireworks can get underneath the car and cause you to have an accident.” (Pantoya)