People associate Independence Day with a variety of things—summer barbeques, pool parties, patriotism, vacation, and family gatherings, but above all, fireworks. Since many people can’t imagine a fireworks-free Fourth of July, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your sparkling celebrations don’t turn into truly explosive events.
When people purchase fireworks and sparklers to include in their celebrations, they often don’t realize how dangerous they can be, especially around children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven people died while approximately 7,000 more were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from fireworks in 2008. Among the injured, more than four of every 10 people were children under the age of 15
Watching others waving around sparklers, children naturally want their own, but don’t always know how to properly use them. Failing to understand the dangerous nature of sparklers, considering that they burn at temperatures higher than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, kids may think it’s fun to throw the ignited objects, or chase their friends around while holding them. The burning sparkler approaching their hands may also frighten children, causing them to panic and drop or throw the object.
Regardless of age, fireworks pose risks of burns and blindness to users and spectators alike. Among the 2008 fireworks-related injuries, more than half were burns, with hands and fingers, eyes, and legs representing the most commonly injured body parts. Use the following fireworks safety tips this July 4th to ensure that your celebrations remain safe:
- Use fireworks and sparklers outdoors only.
- Always have a bucket or hose readily available when using fireworks.
- Only use fireworks as intended. Do not alter them or experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Keep spectators a safe distance away. Injuries may result from being too close to fireworks when they explode.
- Wear safety goggles if you are the person responsible for shooting off the fireworks.
- Do not attempt to shoot off fireworks after consuming alcohol.
- If you allow children to use sparklers, make sure to teach them how to hold them properly, and never leave them unsupervised.
- Point fireworks away from homes, trees, cars, and other buildings to avoid starting a fire.
- Never try to relight a dud firework that didn’t ignite properly the first time.
- Soak all firework debris in water before discarding.
- Do not carry fireworks in your pockets or shoot them from metal or glass containers.
Fireworks laws vary by town, so it’s also important to consult your state’s division of fire safety and be aware of any restrictions in your community. Whether legal or prohibited, the safest idea is to leave the fireworks operation to trained professionals. For more information on fireworks safety and July 4th safety, please subscribe to our blog or contact us.