Summer is a great time of year for visiting friends and family—whether across town or across the country. And, as the Fourth of July weekend approaches and the summer travel season heats up, it’s important to remember some basic tips for traveling and celebrating safely, particularly when fireworks are involved.
No other day on our calendar is as closely associated with fireworks than Independence Day. Across America, towns and communities will light up the evening sky as residents gather to "ooh" and "aah." Some families may choose to have their own small fireworks displays, and many states allow consumers to buy and use fireworks.
But fireworks can pose safety risks, so I urge you to transport and use them safely.
First and foremost, I want to remind everyone that it is illegal to transport fireworks on airplanes. Even the smallest sparklers can pose a tremendous fire risk to aircraft both in the air and on the ground.
Some of the other consumer items we tote during the summer are also hazardous and are only safe for transportation when packed and handled properly. Many Americans are driving or flying with baggage that contains products like bug spray and cookout supplies.
Travelers can minimize the fire safety hazards posed by aerosols, ammunition, lighters, lighter fluid, and matches by using the helpful tips on DOT’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)’s Safe Travel website.
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.
And if your state and local laws allow fireworks and you’re planning to transport them, please keep in mind these important safety tips:
- Don’t light any fireworks inside of a vehicle;
- Transport fireworks in the trunk of your car, rather than a passenger compartment;
- Keep fireworks away from open flame;
- Make sure your fireworks are in a spark-proof container, such as a cardboard box;
- If you drive a van or other vehicle without a trunk, make sure the fireworks aren’t in direct sunlight;
- And always remember: Fireworks are not allowed in either carry-on or checked luggage on commercial airlines.
In addition, if you're going to a barbecue, precautions should be taken when traveling with lighter fluid and other flammable materials.
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. With certain exceptions, additional Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols you may want to carry through a security checkpoint.
To see what other restrictions there are when flying on commercial airlines with consumer-use hazardous materials, check out our Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) publication on safe travel tips for air passengers.
You can also teach your children about fireworks safety using tips from this website.
Wherever you go this summer--or any time of year--to ensure a fun and safe trip, be sure to check out safetravel.dot.gov before you head out the door.