Fireworks safety urged this 4th of July weekend
Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades and fireworks. The National Safety Council advises everyone to enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals, and not to use any fireworks at home. They may be legal but they are not safe.
In 2017, eight people died and over 12,000 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Of these, 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20. Over two-thirds (67%) of injuries took place from June 16 to July 16. And while the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, an estimated 1,200 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers.
Additionally, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires.
If consumer fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow the following safety tips:
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
Never light them indoors
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
Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the fireworks show.
Every year, young children can be found along parade routes, at festivals, or their own neighborhood with sparklers in hand, but sparklers are a lot more dangerous than most people think.
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.