KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After your Fourth of July weekend fun, before you go to sleep, you’ll want to make sure you’ve disposed of your spent fireworks properly. Otherwise you could wake up to a fire.
Most people just throw their old fireworks in the trash, including some that were duds and didn’t go off. But the chemicals inside them are still active. The cartridge could still be hot.
And it could start a fire in your trash can that could move to your house.
According to the National Safety Council, there are more than 18,000 fireworks fires every year. Of those, 1,300 are house fires. There are also many trash fires.
Waste Management said last year, they experienced 400 trash truck fires, many that destroyed their trucks. Not all of those fires were caused by fireworks, but to prevent it from happening, they have some advice.
Once you’re done setting off fireworks, let the empty cartridges sit for a couple hours to cool off. After that, put all that debris in a bucket of water and let it sit for a couple more hours. Then put it all in a wet plastic bag and in your trash can.
Even after doing all that, they recommend you keep your trash can with the fireworks in it away from the house.
“Most containers these days are plastic so they’re very susceptible to catching fire,” said Paul Howe, spokesman for Waste Management.
“So when you’re cooling off the fireworks or put them in a container, you want to make sure it’s away from any structure, whether it’s a house or garage or whatever. Don’t store it inside. Make sure it’s away from the structure in case for whatever reason they do reignite.”
Remember, the chemicals in fireworks can be very unpredictable, and experts stress it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Another Fourth of July concern is charcoal. If you grill with charcoal for your holiday barbecue, make sure you leave it in your grill for at least two days. Then wrap it in aluminum before you put it in the trash.
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