If you love fireworks, here’s how to avoid eye injuries, serious burns and fires. Every year around the 4th of July, there are about 10,000 firework-related injuries, costing $100 million. Fireworks also cause about 18,000 fires that cost $32 million in direct property damage.
Here are the top 25 tips to stay out of an emergency room this holiday.
- Let the professionals handle fireworks displays – that’s the most important tip for injury-free fireworks.
- Have adult supervision if you insist on fireworks at home. Half of all injuries happened to people younger than age 20; males suffered 74 percent of the total injuries. More than half of all injuries occurred to the hands, fingers and eyes. Sparklers (which burn at up to 2,000 degrees) and bottle rockets cause many of the burns and eye injuries.
- Designate a shooter to ignite all fireworks.
- Stay sober if you are the designated adult for a home firework display. Alcohol and drugs are involved in a high number of injuries and fires.
- Buy safe products. Fireworks are not regulated so don’t rely on labeling to determine if they’re safe. Always buy from a reliable source.
- Do not buy fireworks packaged in brown paper because they are usually for professional displays and can be dangerous for consumers.
- Read the directions first and use fireworks as directed on the consumer product safety label. Never alter fireworks.
- Avoid storing fireworks. If stored for a short time, keep them in a cool, dry place not accessible to children.
- Never make your own fireworks. Report illegal explosives, like M-80s, cherry bombs, silver salutes and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
- Know your local laws about when and where fireworks are legal and who can legally use them.
- Do not allow running or horseplay where fireworks are being used.
- Do not permit young children to handle or use fireworks, including spent fireworks.
- Do not permit pointing or throwing a firework at another person.
- Do not carry fireworks in a pocket, backpack or purse.
- Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from people (especially children), animals, buildings, vehicles, plants or anything that can burn.
- Have a source of water (bucket, garden hose, etc.) readily available for duds and to soak spent fireworks.
- Wear safety glasses if you are the designated shooter.
- Always use a “punk” or a lighter. Never permit an open flame, such as a candle, BBQ grill, fire pit or campfire, anywhere near fireworks.
- Never ignite fireworks in any container. This includes bottle rockets! They cause about 70 percent of eye injuries from fireworks and are banned in many places.
- Only ignite one firework at a time.
- Back up to a safe distance immediately after igniting. No part of the body should be over a firework that is being ignited.
- Never re-light any firework that has not gone off. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Do not pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. Spray with water before touching them.
- Soak spent fireworks in water before placing in an outdoor trash can.
- Don’t store unused fireworks for next year. Unused fireworks should be soaked in water before disposal.
Don’t spend the holiday in an emergency room! Celebrate our country’s Independence Day safely this year and watch a professional display.