Texas Tech University

Stay Safe While Celebrating the Red, White and Blue

Amanda Bowman

June 29, 2021


Knowing how to properly store, handle and dispose of fireworks is key to a safe Fourth of July celebration.


The Fourth of July celebrates the U.S.'s independence from Great Britain, and with that celebration comes the long-standing tradition of setting off fireworks. What some people may fail to realize is fireworks are made with energetic materials that can cause burns, dismemberment and even death if handled improperly.

Texas Tech University's Michelle Pantoya, the J.W. Wright Regents Chairwoman of 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 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.


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 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.
  • Fireworks and alcohol never mix.
  • It's important to read and understand the instructions before lighting fireworks.
  • It's never a good idea to attempt to relight a firework “dud.”


  • “Whether it's a bucket of sand or a hose from your garden, you need something to put out the fire.” (Pantoya)
  • “When people use 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)
  • “If you are tinkering with it (firework) because it didn't go off and you're handling it, it's the handling that is dangerous.” (Pantoya)
  • “Alcohol and fireworks don't mix. A lot of fireworks-related accidents also involve 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)

To request audio from Pantoya and Weeks, please contact Allison Hirth at allison.hirth@ttu.edu.