The Fourth of July is synonymous with outdoor parades, barbecues, and fireworks displays. Unfortunately, along with all the fun, there are many trips to the emergency room. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, four people died and over 11,000 others were hospitalized due to firework-related injuries in 2016. Many of these injuries are related to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, and thousands more were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers. This holiday follow these safety tips for a safe and happy 4th:
Supervise Children & Teens
The first step is to monitor young people when they are using fireworks carefully. An adult should be present to ensure the following of local laws and restrictions, as well as prevent any unsafe behavior such as holding a lit firework or standing too close to an ignited one. An adult should also keep the following safety tips in mind, as should anybody handling fireworks.
Read the labels
There are several different kinds of fireworks, and each behaves differently. Go over the label on the firework or on the box to understand how that specific one should act upon ignition.
Wear safety glasses
Protective eyewear will help prevent damage to the eyes should a firework explode before it should. Safety glasses will keep your eyes safe should something go wrong, resulting in dangerous shrapnel.
Keep water sources handy
Two things you should have ready to go before launching a firework are a bucket and a hose. These will help put out any small fires caused by the firework’s launch to prevent the flames from growing.
Be aware of any potentially flammable substances
Keep fireworks out of the way of anything that can catch fire such as dry grass or plants, and other homes. An open flame and explosion around these things can quickly lead to a fire.
Do not relight a dud
A dud is a firework that, after lighting, does not launch. Relighting the fuse can seem tempting, but remember the firework may still be live and might still start even if it does not appear that it will. Stay away from the dud in case it goes off at a later time. If you have a dud, wait twenty minutes before approaching it and then soak it in water to make sure it is dead.
Dispose of fireworks properly
Do not just throw a firework in the trash after it has gone off. Soak it in water first and then place the firework in a trashcan that is made of nonflammable materials that are separate from other trash that may ignite. This step will help prevent garbage can fires.