Safe Fireworks

The Fourth of July is America’s birthday—and the busiest day of the year for firefighters. It’s also a busy day for hospital emergency rooms, which in 2012 treated almost 9,000 people for injuries from fireworks. Fireworks are also responsible for 40 percent of fires on Independence Day. Firework injuries are most common in tens and young adults, and then in children under ten. Here are some tips for safe fireworks fun:

  • Professional-grade fireworks are generally wrapped in brown paper. They can be dangerous without proper training.
  • Keep fireworks away from dry grass.
  • Young children should never ignite or play with fireworks, and teenagers should only use them under close adult supervision.
  • People who are drunk or otherwise impaired should not light fireworks.
  • Fireworks should not be used without water—a garden hose, or at least a bucket—nearby. A first-aid kit should also be available.
  • Body parts should be kept out of the way during lighting.
  • Duds should not be re-lit, and should be doused with water before being picked up or handled.
  • Unexploded fireworks should not be left behind. They should also be doused with water before being discarded.

Following these tips will help avoid serious injury. If injury does occur, immediate medical care can help minimize permanent damage, but it is important that it is immediate—not after the party is over. People who are injured should seek medical attention even if they were misusing fireworks or the fireworks themselves were illegal. That’s not as important as getting people the care they need.

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