Every year America celebrates her independence from Great Britain on the 4th of July. This traditional holiday is synonymous with patriotic parades, backyard bar-be-cues, and a magnificent display of fireworks.
However, as most people enjoy the beauty of fireworks, they may not realize the dangers. Sadly, every year fireworks cause detrimental burns and other bodily injuries, raging fires, and even death.
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According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks are hazardous. Here are some statistics–
- More than 19,000 fires are started each year
- Approximately 9,100 injuries result in Emergency Room (ER) visits each 4th of July – 44% of those burns from fireworks
- 50% of 9,100 annual ER visits resulted from injuries to the hands, fingers, or legs
- 33% were eye or head injuries
- Children under the age of 15 visited represented the highest percentage age group
- Sparklers account for 25% of ER firework injuries
Injuries aren’t the only concern when it comes to handling fireworks. Fires are also a safety concern, especially if you live in a drought-ridden area.
Fireworks, by their very nature, are made to be ignited and explode. The problem lies when they misfire, are lit in containers, and/or sparks land in brush or dried leaves.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SPARKLERS
But sparklers are safe, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is a firm NO!
So often, we see children celebrating at festivals and parades, running around with a sparkler in hand, waving it in the air, swirling it around, never realizing how dangerous a sparkler really is.
FACT: Sparklers burn around 1,200°F. So let’s put that into perspective.
- Water boils at 212°F
- Cakes bake at 350°F
- Wood burns at 575°F
- Glass melts at 900°F
- Sparklers burn at 1200°F and often get much hotter—possibly to 1800°F
Sparklers can quickly ignite hair or clothing. In addition, children may drop the sparkler on their or someone else’s feet, causing severe burns.
TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE
Like most people, I love to watch fireworks. So my family and I try to go see a professional show every year. But even so, I have observed incidents that could have quickly become very serious.
For instance, a few years ago, when I lived in northern Idaho, I saw a firework canister misfire and explode. Thankfully the pyrotechnician handled the situation, extinguished the fire, and nobody was hurt.
If you choose to set off legal fireworks, here are some safety tips for this year’s celebration.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Closely supervise older children
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Wear protective eyewear
- Never light fireworks indoors or in a container
- Never hold fireworks in your hands
- Never point them at people
- Keep away from flammable materials, people and houses
- Maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Do not attempt to re-light or handle a faulty firework
- Soak in water fireworks (used and unused) several hours before discarding
- Keep a water source handy to extinguish fireworks fully
- Never use illegal fireworks
The year (2021) marks 245 years since America declared her independence. Small towns and major cities alike usually celebrate with a splendid firework display. If possible, join in, bring a blanket or some lawn chairs and watch from afar.
But, most of all, STAY SAFE and ENJOY!
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