For many Americans, getting ready for the Fourth of July traveling, likely across state lines, to stock up on fireworks for the most patriotic night of the year. DIY explosives are never a great idea — why spend a ton of money risk a sudden amputation to shoot off a few Roman Candles and M80s? — but it could be even riskier this year.
That’s because hand sanitizer, after some shortages earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, has become ubiquitous. People are sanitizing their hands throughout the day in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And while it won’t blow up your car, the same sanitizer that makes life safer during COVID-19 could also make firing off fireworks at home more dangerous.
“Alcohol and fire do not mix,” National Safety Council (NSC) spokeswoman Maureen Vogel told CNN. “You shouldn’t pair flammable items; it’s the proverbial recipe for disaster.”
Last year, before alcohol-based solutions were as common as they are now, more than 7,000 people reported fireworks-related injuries around the Fourth of July. This year, sales of fireworks are way up, and the increased quantity and proximity of fireworks and hand sanitizer is alarming.
“Combining flammable items is always a bad idea,” Vogel added. “Keep hand sanitizer away from the fireworks area.”
If you must handle fireworks on the Fourth, wash your hands with soap and water, an alcohol-free way to keep your hands clean. But the better choice is to leave the fireworks to the professionals who know how to stay safe, particularly when doctors, nurses, and hospital resources should stay focused on the pandemic at hand.