Julie HeckmanJulie L. Heckman is the Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, the leading trade association of the fireworks industry in the United States. Julie directs the overall regulatory affairs of the APA, including the Association’s Safety Program. She is frequently cited in the media (doing some 300 interviews a year) relating to her expertise in fireworks safety, consumer products and hazardous materials regulations as well as other fireworks-related issues. Julie has spent nearly 20 years in the fireworks industry. She has traveled internationally to Canada, Hong Kong, China, Italy, Japan, Germany and Spain to share her passion for fireworks and expertise with other fireworks organizations and industry leaders. As a professional and a mother, her passion has been focused in recent years in advocating the safe use of fireworks especially when children are present. She believes all fireworks injuries are preventable and the injuries that do occur are related to carelessness, misuse or lack of parental supervision. Julie received her Bachelors degree in Paralegal Studies from the College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati, OH. She lives and works in Bethesda, Maryland.
Julie Heckman: Hi! I am Julie Heckman, Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. I love fireworks and I have been involved with the firework industry for almost 20 years. Part of my role with the American Pyrotechnics Association is to promote the safe and responsible use of backyard fireworks. So, today I am going to walk to you through the entire process from selecting your product, to finding the proper venue to discharge your fireworks, to keep your spectator safe and also how to light the fuse.
Now, one of the things you need to know is that you don't need a lot of equipment. For example, a few things that will be handy to keep your celebration safe would be a bucket of water or a good garden hose. You want to think about protecting your eyes, safety glasses or safety goggles are a key component to protecting your eyes when using fireworks. It is also important that you use the utility lighter or an extended safety stick when you are lighting the fuses to protect your hands from the ignition of the fuse. Now, when we talk about fireworks, safety is always important and you need to make certain that, when you are going to use fireworks, you use them in an area that is free from dry grass and brush and shrubs as well as other household combustibles and you want to make certain that you keep children and spectators at safe distances. It is extremely important that really youngsters don't get a chance to even handle fireworks. Now, we are about ready to have some fun with fireworks. So, let's get started with fireworks safety.