Play it Safe when Setting Off Your Fireworks This Year
With our nation’s Independence Day just around the corner, you may be busy planning your 4th of July feast and gearing up the for the annual summer fireworks show. However, if you plan on entertaining your family and friends with a personal fireworks display this year, there are several important bits of information you should know.
- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 9 thousand injuries occur each year due fireworks.
- Approximately 30 percent of these injuries occur to the eye, with up to one-fourth of these incidences ending in permanent blindness or vision loss. The remaining 60 percent of injuries occur to the extremities, such as hands and forearms.
- One-third of all injuries are caused by sparklers, which burn at a temperature of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to inflict third degree burns.
- In 2011, an estimated 17,800 fires caused by fireworks gone awry were reported. Of these, 1,200 were structure fires, 400 were vehicle fires and 16,300 occurred outside.
General Fireworks Safety
Creating your own personal fireworks display can be a blast, but its best to leave it to the professionals. If you do choose to set off your own fireworks, however, you should always check with your local police department to make sure that they are legal in the area where you plan to set them off.
When setting of fireworks, there are several safety rules that should always be followed:
- Make sure that the fireworks that you purchase are legal. These fireworks come with directions and a manufacture’s name, while illegal fireworks are unlabeled. It is highly recommended that you never make your own fireworks.
- Fireworks have a tendency to be unpredictable. Therefore, they should never be held and the person in charge of setting them off should be wearing protective eye gear. The explosives should never be pointed or thrown at anyone, and they should never be pointed at homes or other flammable substances.
- Children should never be allowed to handle or light fireworks. Older children should only light fireworks when an adult is present to supervise. After lighting the fireworks, children should not be allowed to pick up any pieces as they may still be ignited.
- After you are finished lighting your fireworks, thoroughly soak them in a bucket of water to ensure that they are completely out before throwing them in the trash. This way, you won’t accidentally start a fire in your garbage can.
Basic First Aid Tips
As with any activity, a serious injury could occur to you or a friend or family member no matter how careful you are. If you plan on setting off fireworks this 4th of July, take some time to learn some basic first aid to reduce the likelihood of a permanent or disfiguring injury.
If an injury or other emergency occurs while setting off any fireworks, there are several safety procedures that should be followed:
- Always remain calm. The individual who is injured should always be taken to the emergency room. If a fire occurs, have someone immediately call 911 to reduce the risk of the fire spreading.
- If any eye injury occurs, do not rub the eye, as this may cause more damage. Do not attempt to flush out the eye or put any ointment on it. Immediately call for help and follow the instructions that are given to you by the responder.
- If a burn occurs, clothing should be removed from the area that has been burned. Run the injury under cool, but not cold water. A doctor should also be called immediately.
By taking the necessary precautions and setting off your fireworks in a safe manner, you’ll be sure to have a fantastic and memorable 4th of July this year.