4th of July weekend is here! And that means sun, fun…and fireworks! Follow these guidelines from the National Council on Fireworks Safety and the National Safety Council to ensure a safe fireworks display.
Stats to Consider:
In 2006, an estimated 9,200 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, 36 percent of whom were under 15 years old. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 were at three times the risk of fireworks injuries than the general population. About a third of the injuries were from small firecrackers, 21 percent from bottle rockets and 20 percent from sparklers. In 2004, fireworks caused $21 million in direct property damage.
The National Safety Council advises the best way to safely enjoy this 4th of July is to watch a public fireworks display conducted by professionals. However, if fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to use them, be sure to follow these safety tips.
General Fireworks Safety Tips:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
- Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and flammable materials.
- Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and soak them with water and discard them safely.
- Keep a bucket of water and hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
“Fireworks Smart” Before, During, and After:
The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges consumers to be “fireworks smart” – before, during, and after their fireworks display.
- Before: Choose an open area away from spectators, homes, buildings, and dry vegetation. Use a garden hose to wet down the area before firing.
- During: As each device burns out, soak it using a hose or bucket of water.
- After: Place all used items in a covered, fireproof container and leave it outside and away from homes and buildings.
Special Safety Tips for Sparklers:
- Children under the age of 12 should not use sparklers without very close adult supervision.
- Always remain standing while using sparklers.
- Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
- Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
- Sparklers and bare feet can be a painful combination. Always wear closed-toe shoes when using sparklers.
- Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out. Be sure to drop the spent sparklers directly into a bucket of water.
- Never hand a lighted sparkler to another person. Give them the unlit sparkler and then light it.
- Always stand at least 6 feet from another person while using sparklers.
- Never throw sparklers.
- Show children how to hold sparklers away from their body and at arm’s length.
- Teach children not to wave sparklers, especially wooden stick sparklers, or run while holding sparklers.