Though another Fourth of July celebration has come and gone, chances are that you have a few leftover bottle rockets or sparklers in a box in the garage just waiting for your next BBQ. And why not? Fireworks are fun to watch and fun to set off. But to make sure using fireworks stays fun and doesn't result in serious injuries, following proper firework safety is important.
Approximately 7,000 injuries occur each year due to fireworks. Of those firework-related injuries, children 15 and younger account for about 40 percent. That amounts to 2,800 children injured each year because proper safety measures were not taken when playing with dangerous fireworks. While the most common type of injuries include burns and eye damage from foreign objects, fireworks have been known to result in loss of limb or even death.
Just this past Fourth of July a New York man was lighting fireworks at a party in Long Island when he blew his left arm off, severing the arm from the shoulder.
Firework Safety Tips
To prevent minor burns and more serious injuries while using fireworks, the National Council of Fireworks Safety recommends following these tips:
- Never use fireworks indoors.
- Always have water accessible with a hose or bucket.
- Only use fireworks as intended - don't try to combine or alter them. And do not use homemade fireworks.
- Do not relight "dud" fireworks. Wait 20 minutes and then soak them in a bucket of water.
- Have a designated shooter and shooting area. The shooter should wear safety glasses. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooting area.
- While use of sparklers may seem like child's play, they can burn up to 1800 degrees. They should only be used by children over the age of 12 and with adult supervision.
- Each state has different laws regarding fireworks. If fireworks are not legal in your state, do not use them. (In Georgia, the use of sparklers and non-explosive fireworks, such as snakes, glow worms, snappers, and party poppers are legal. Use of most other explosive fireworks, such as torpedoes, sky rockets, roman candles, and cherry bombs is illegal and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in jail.)
Whether you are playing with leftover fireworks from this year's Fourth of July celebration or just having fun at a family BBQ, prevent injuries by using proper firework handling techniques.