There are not too many things I enjoy more than a good, old-fashioned 4th of July community celebration. Picnics, parades, outdoor concerts, and--of course--fireworks displays.
But, whether you're traveling across the country or just going to the nearest municipal park, it pays to think about safety. And for safe travel, DOT has just the agency: the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
We call it "PHMSA," and, wherever you're going this weekend, please check out safetravel.dot.gov before you go.
Now, it's not news that when we travel, we take stuff with us. But some of the consumer items we tote are hazardous and are only safe for transportation when packed and handled properly. Travelers can minimize the fire safety hazards posed by aerosols, ammunition, lighters, lighter fluid, matches, and fireworks by using the helpful tips at PHMSA's Safe Travel website.
So remember, it can be safe to travel with these items, but only when you meet DOT and the Department of Homeland Security's TSA requirements and take recommended common sense precautions.
For example, fireworks are both explosive and flammable; they present obvious travel risks.
- It is not permissible to transport fireworks of any kind on board a commercial airliner.
- But, if your state and local law allow fireworks, you can pack them safely in your vehicle.
- Transport fireworks in a spark-proof container, such as a cardboard box.
- Pack fireworks in the trunk of your vehicle and away from passengers.
- In a van or truck without a trunk, protect fireworks from direct sunlight.
If you're heading to a destination where you'll be barbecuing, similar precautions should be taken when traveling with lighter fluid.
And, if you're traveling by airplane, you'll want to pack your aerosols safely. Remember that it is illegal to bring flammable aerosols on board an aircraft unless they are medicinal or personal toiletry items.
For those flying with portable electronic devices like laptop computers and some cell phones and cameras, please note that spare lithium batteries cannot be packed in checked baggage. Instead, they must be in your carry-on baggage. This only applies to spare batteries, not the batteries installed in your devices.
I'm just trying to give you some idea of the common sense precautions wise travelers should take. I don't have the space here to list every safety precaution you should take when traveling with hazardous consumer items. So please don't assume that because I didn't mention something, it's okay to pack it carelessly.
Again, with potentially hazardous materials, let heightened common sense determine your precautions.
But remember also that PHMSA has prepared an excellent starting point for your trip: the Safe Travel website.
This holiday weekend and whenever you travel, please remember that safe travel is everyone’s concern.