Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades and fireworks displays. But along with all the festivities are plenty of visits to emergency rooms – especially during July.
In 2013, eight people died and about 11,400 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And while the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, 40 percent were from legal, less powerful devices.
Fireworks also are responsible for thousands of home fires each year. The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2011, fireworks caused about 1,200 structure fires.
Firework Safety Tips
If fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow the following safety tips
- Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source.
- Use fireworks as directed on consumer product safety label; never alter products.
- Observe local laws and use good COMMON SENSE.
- Have a designated shooter to organize and shoot your family show.
- A responsible ADULT should supervise all firework activities.
- Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; AWAY from buildings and vehicles.
- NEVER carry fireworks in your POCKET.
- Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.
- Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trashcan.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
Following are some fireworks that are legal for consumers to purchase and use in some states.
Every year, young children can be found along parade routes and at festivals with sparklers in hand, but they are a lot more dangerous than most people think. Parents don’t realize they burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and many children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.
These small rockets are attached to a stick, lit by a fuse and typically fired from a bottle. Teens have been known to have bottle rocket wars, firing them at one another and causing chest, head and eye injuries.
Physicians at Vanderbilt Eye Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have seen so many eye injuries caused by bottle rockets they conducted a study they hope will lead to better education and “legislative enhancements” on fireworks safety.
“The majority of the children (in the study) ended up with reduced vision, and probably half of those were deemed legally blind,” said Dr. Franco Recchia, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Vanderbilt.
Firecrackers are designed to explode on the ground. They are often linked together by one long fuse and explode in a series. They are designed to be very noisy, but they also can cause burns and other serious injuries.
Roman candles eject multiple exploding shells from a tube the user holds in his or her hand. There have been numerous reports of children losing fingers, severe burns and other injuries, which are sometimes caused when the device gets jammed.
Be Well South Dakota wishes you a safe and happy 4th of July holiday.
Source: Fireworks Safety–NSC.org