Online Originals: Properly disposing of your fireworks and storage of unused ones

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Independence Day weekend has come to a close, and local fire departments want to ensure the protection of the community when it comes time to throw out those fireworks.

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Jeremy Anderson, Battalion Fire Chief with Greenville Fire/Rescue said nearly 20,000 fire incidents occur each year due to fireworks.

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These disposal tips work for unused, misfired, or “dud” fireworks.


  • Completely submerge fireworks in a large bucket of water and soak until thoroughly saturated. This may take 15 minutes for small fireworks or as long as overnight for larger ones.
  • Double wrap the completely soaked fireworks in plastic wrap or two plastic bags so they do not dry out.
  • Place the double-bagged fireworks in the household trash or take them to your local solid waste facility. You can also contact your local fire department or solid waste facility as other disposal options may be available in your community.


If you plan to store unused fireworks that have not yet expired, keep them in a cool, dry place such as a garage and out of the reach of children. Never place fireworks on top of an electrical appliance, such as a refrigerator or freezer. The appliance could be struck or damaged through extreme weather events such as lightning or power surges, resulting in the possible ignition of the fireworks.

Fireworks fire & injury facts:

Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.  

In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu and Jason Ng.

national fire protection association

And fireworks aren’t the only 4th of July prop that can cause serious injury. Sparklers can cause devastating injury too.

Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.

Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.


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