The 4th of July is a day in which many Americans get out and enjoy the festivities offered in their community and this includes watching fireworks displays. For others they choose to create their own fun and in the evening host a fireworks show of their own. Both ways, it’s a great day and it ends in a colorful blast of intricate patterns that leave us all wanting more.
Fireworks are an amazing way to celebrate holidays and should you choose to create your own show please follow some common sense rules.
Here’s a fun – and safe – way to watch fireworks if it’s bad weather or you don’t want the kids to stay up so late: Firework Displays DVD – With Music and Pyrotechnic Sounds.
Dangers of Fireworks
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were approximately 8,700 fireworks-related injuries that were treated in hospitals across the country in 2012. This is a number that seems to be consistent year-after-year. What’s worse is that out of these injuries about half occur to children. Those sparklers that we all love waving around are not harmless and this (sadly) is a prevailing attitude that must change. Sparklers heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the lack of education and supervision has caused tens of thousands of hand and finger injuries as well as burns.
When it comes to adults and firework-related injuries, too often the consumption of alcohol prior to and during the lighting of fireworks has lead to some serious accidents. Make no mistake, sometimes it is shear lack of thinking that has caused some serious accidents as well and this includes death. For example, last year two young girls and their mother and a man were sent to hospital after they suffered serious injuries to their faces. They were taking apart mortar shells and packing the powder into a cannon. A stick or wooden rod was used and it ultimately ignited the powder.
Every state has different laws as to what types or fireworks are legal and yet there are still people in emergency wards regardless of legislation. In Connecticut for example the only fireworks that are legal are sparklers and fountains that contain less than 100 grams of pyrotechnic material. Despite the laws this state emergency rooms are always filled with firework-related injuries every year.
According to the U.S. Consumer Protect Safety Commission here are the most injured body parts:
- Hands and fingers 36%
- Head, face, ears 22%
- Eyes 16%
- Trunk 7%
- Arms 5%
Don’t Become a Statistic
Safety Tips For Using Fireworks
- Drinking and driving do not mix – neither does setting off fireworks and alcohol. Have a designated adult who is not under the influence of alcohol to be in charge of setting off fireworks.
- Observe local laws.
- Read and follow all label directions on packaging.
- Set off fireworks in a clear area away from all homes and structures, dry leaves, trees or anything else that is flammable. Preferably light them on sandy or dirt area.
- Never have your body directly over a firework when attempting to light.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode. If possible, a garden hose is best.
- Never try to relight or handle a firework that malfunctions. Soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Dispose of them in a metal container.
- Be sure everyone is at a safe distance.
- Be aware of wind conditions. If it is too windy do not light fireworks as this is a safety hazard.
- Sparklers should not be given to young children as they are hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness, and result in severe burns.
- Do not allow children to light or handle fireworks.
- When using sparklers have a pail of water to place the used wires. These wires stay hot for several minutes after and they should be soaked to prevent injury.
- Do not point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Light fireworks one at a time – never light more than one at one time.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket.
- Never light fireworks in a metal or glass container.
The 4th of July can be a great day that ends with a bang – be sure it’s a safe one!
Want to teach your kids more about fireworks? Check out this photo essay book: From Rock to Fireworks
- StateCollege.com; July 1, 2014
- JournalStar.com; July 4, 2013
- Newstimes.com; June 30, 2014
- U.S. Consumer Protect Safety Commission
- U.S. Consumer Protect Safety Commission (Safety Center)