Each year, fireworks cause over 11,500 injuries and almost 20,000 fires across the country, according to Elon University Police Sgt. Richard Hooks. 

This Independence Day — whether on or off Elon’s campus — Hooks provided a few tips to keep you, along with your family and friends, safe:

  • Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, grass and other flammable materials. 
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode. 
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away. 
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. 
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the ideal "safe" device for the young, burn at very high temperatures and should not be handled by young children. 
  • Older children should be permitted to use fireworks only under close adult supervision.  
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. 
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. 
  • Check instructions for special storage directions. 
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting. 
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks. 
  • Do not allow any running or horseplay while handling fireworks. 
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Observe local laws

According to Hooks, July 4th is the second-most-deadly holiday period of the year — just behind New Year’s — due to impaired driving. Once the celebration is over, Hooks said there are still dangers to be mindful of and recommends that all participants of the holiday abide by these guidelines:

  • Don’t drink and drive. 
  • Be mindful of pedestrians.
  • Remember: alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, do not plan on driving. 
  • Designate a sober driver, or use public transportation or a ride share service to get home safely.
  • Take car keys away from individuals who are drunk and are planning to drive. 
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911. 

Contact Elon University’s Police Department at (336) 278-5555 or Hooks at rhooks@elon.edu with any questions. Call 911 for any emergencies.