It’s hard to imagine the Fourth of July festivities without a great fireworks display. But celebrations can become tragic when someone is injured or property is damaged by fire. FEMA and the US Fire Administration remind you to prepare for a safe and memorable Independence Day by leaving the fireworks to the professionals. Even those fireworks that are sold legally can cause injuries. Also with many areas of the country under severe drought conditions, the chances of accidentally causing a fire are greatly increased, so they should be avoided in those areas.
Did you know that fireworks alone accounted for some 8,600 serious burns and injuries in 2010? And nearly 3,500 of those injuries happened to children under the age of 15. Don’t let your celebration this July Fourth end with a visit to the emergency room. If you are going to use legal and locally approved fireworks, here are some recommended safety steps:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees-hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
For those seeking more information regarding fireworks in their area, check with local fire officials and visit the following recommended websites: