There is nothing more fun than joining in the July 4th celebration and enjoying the thrill of fireworks with friends. However, take extra precaution to ensure that the exciting times don't turn tragic.
On many occasions, when the jubilation is at a fever pitch, accidents seem to happen and usually when you least expect it. Sadly, the common response after the paramedics arrive is, “It happened so fast.” Don't let it happen to you!
The Insurance Journal reports, in just 2017 alone, eight people lost their lives and 12, 900 were treated in emergency rooms. Many of the accidents are injuries to the eyes, arms, hands, fingers and arms; and often occurring between June 15th and July 15th. Most of the incidents could have been avoided with a little supervision or following package instructions.
Some of the most popular fireworks purchased every year are the basics; firecrackers, bottle rockets, M-80's, Roman Candles and sparklers.
ABC News reported that sparklers were the number one cause of injuries accounting for 14% of the cases. Most parents think sparklers are harmless simply because they don't explode. However, sparklers burn up to 2000 degrees and can be deadly if not handled properly.
My experience as a child was one that I will never forget. A friend and I were playing with sparklers in his back yard and right before the flame went out, we would throw them as far as we could. Well, after the fifth launch, my friend looked up and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Fire!” One of the previous sparklers we had thrown had ignited the neighbors yard and within minutes several neighborhood yards were totally destroyed by the fire. It was a difficult and expensive lesson for two 10 year old kids. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze.
We agree with the National Safety Council, you ought to leave the fireworks to the experts. However, if you can't stand the temptation and choose to use legal fireworks over the holiday season, please respect the firework device and practice prudent firework safety. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these excellent tips to prevent injuries:
- Never allow young children to play with fireworks and always have adult supervision.
- Only buy legal fireworks from a licensed store, stand or tent.
- Read and follow the directions on the label.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container.
- Keep spectators, especially children a safe distance away.
- Always wear eye protection.
- Don't throw or aim fireworks at anyone.
- Never place any part of your body over a firework device.
- Keep a garden hose or water bucket nearby.
- Only light one firework at a time and never try to reignite a firework that didn't previously light.
It is crucial for those using fireworks and bystanders to know that most fireworks can carry heat up to 1300 degrees. Fireworks must be handled carefully at all times. Just one minor mistake can cause extensive burns, hospitalization, surgeries and amputation.
Even when taking part in a public firework show, please keep a safe distance of at least 500 feet from the launching site. Also, respect all law enforcement and barriers for protection. Lastly, never touch a firework display during or after the show. These devices can sometimes retain heat and possibly explode.