On this July 4th, let’s all try to celebrate our freedom from unnecessary injuries due to the potentially hazardous effects of firecrackers. Here are some sensible suggestions for fireworks safety on Independence Day.
[Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on June 16, 2017. The content has been updated.]
Independence Day (July 4th) has been a federal holiday since 1941. On this annual celebration of this nation’s independence from the British Empire, July 4th is commonly commemorated with parades, picnics, barbecues, carnivals, and other festive events.
Another traditional way Americans celebrate this time-honored holiday is by setting off rockets, roman candles, smoke bombs, spinners, sparklers, snaps, snakes, and other fun-filled fireworks to their hearts’ content.
But, let’s remember that these colorful, loud, and smoky objects of fiery, flashy fun can also be quite destructive. Fireworks can cause considerable injuries, if used improperly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) from 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 18,500 fires caused directly by fireworks. In 2014, U.S. hospitals treated an estimated 10,500 people for these types of injuries. The top injury is to the hand or finger (36%), followed by the eye (19%), and injuries to the head, face or ear (19%).
[Note: The NFPA strongly advocates safety first and recommends that fireworks should only be handled by professionals.]
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these helpful fireworks safety tips:
1) Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
2) They should always be supervised by responsible adults
3) Avoid placing your body directly over any firecracker while lighting the fuse
4) Never re-light or pick up firecrackers that didn’t fully ignite the first time
5) Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose close by, in case of fire
6) Never point or throw fireworks at another person
7) Don’t shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers
[Note: Never use fireworks illegally. Only use them in locations where it’s legal to do so. For more information, check your local community’s ordinances regarding the use of fireworks.]
Again, the Fourth of July celebrates our country’s bloody fight for independence…not your finger’s grisly liberation from the rest of your hand. So keep safe on July 4th. Doing just a few simple, precautionary things can ensure that you and your family will make it to July 5th unscathed.