Independence Day as we know it was put on hold last year across much of the country, as many people continued to shelter away from others during the pandemic.
That didn’t stop people from shooting off fireworks anyway, and last year was one of the biggest years for fireworks sales ever, as people took to creating their own unique displays instead.
If that was you and you’re ready to go bigger and better this year, or you want to try your hand at pyrotechnics for the first time this year, here’s where locals say are the best places to buy fireworks around the Midlands.
Casey’s Fireworks — 3830 Rosewood Drive, Columbia
Discount Fireworks Store — 943 Main St., West Columbia
Discount Fireworks Express — 2450 Charleston Highway, Cayce
Rodney’s Rockets — 714 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC 29229
TNT Fireworks — 7520 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia
Nationwide fireworks shortage
If you’re planning looking to buy fireworks, you should go sooner rather than later. The country is currently facing a nationwide shortage due to manufacturing constraints in China and a shortage of employees across the industry, from the dock workers who bring the fireworks into ports to truck drivers that take them to their final destinations, according to CNN Business.
Last year also saw record-breaking sales of fireworks, even as cities around the nation canceled their marquee celebrations, draining stockpiles that have yet to be replenished, CNN reported
Fireworks are also more expensive this year.
“If you pay the same amount, you’re going to get less. There’s no question in my mind,” Phantom Fireworks executive vice president Alan Zoldan told CNN.
Do’s and don’ts for lighting up the skies
First and foremost, fireworks are explosives and can cause you and your surroundings a lot of harm if not handled properly. You want to see a colorful light display, not get injured or start a wildfire.
Here are some tips for amateur pyros, according to the National Safety Council, as well as some rules to keep in mind when shooting them off.
Many cities do not allow people to shoot off fireworks inside their city limits. Be sure to check your local laws and regulations before firing off in your backyard.
You must be at least 16 years old to purchase fireworks in South Carolina.
Check on local noise ordinances. In Richland County, for example, fireworks can be used until 1 a.m. on July 4 and Dec. 31. thanks to extended noise rules.
Insulate your pets from the noise of fireworks as much as possible, and never bring them to a fireworks display of any size.
Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
Never ignite devices in a container.
Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
Never use illegal fireworks.
Don’t forget to be just as careful with sparklers, which account for about 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
“Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals,” the National Safety Council’s website states. “Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.”