Be safe this 4th of July
June 23, 2017 at midnight
Thousands of firework displays will light up the skies this 4th of July holiday. Of the many traditions, the most notable include barbecue, bottle rockets, and visits to the emergency room. Fireworks can be a lot of fun, but they also must be respected for the power they wield. This year, it's important to take some time to understand some of the basic guidelines for firework safety and why they are necessary.
By the numbers
The shocking reality from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is that firework injuries resulted in 11,900 trips to the emergency room in 2015, with 2/3rds of them occurring during the 1-month period between June 19th and July 19th.
It's important to note from this report that these injuries were not just to adults, and not just from more powerful fireworks. In fact, the highest rate of injuries reported was from teenagers in the 15 to 19 year age group, and the second-highest was from children between ages 5 and 9. Approximately 1,900 of those injuries were from sparklers, and another 800 from bottle rockets.
Tips for a safe celebration
The National Council on Fireworks Safety provides some of the following recommendations for firework celebrations:
- Obey fireworks laws, report illegal fireworks
- Read the instructions; read them again
- Spent fireworks should be wetted down and disposed of in a metal trash can; if it's a dud, wait 20 minutes before putting it in a bucket of water (never relight)
- Have a bucket of water
- Only light fireworks under supervision of a responsible, sober adult
- Wear safety glasses, light it away from people and buildings, then get out of the way
- If you have pets, don't bring them to a fireworks display of any kind; keep them as isolated from the sound as possible, preferably inside, and make sure they have their collar and ID tags in case they run away
By following this simple set of safety guidelines, we can all enjoy the dazzling displays while avoiding firework injuries.