Stay safe when using fireworks
July 3, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 3, 2013) -- Fireworks are often used to celebrate Independence Day, but used improperly -- they can ruin it.
In 2011, there were nearly 10,000 firework-related injuries treated in U.S. hospitals, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission -- burns accounted for most of those injuries.
Steven Lowell, assistant chief fire prevention for Fire and Emergency Services said the high temperature that fireworks reach is why fireworks can be dangerous.
"A sparkler (for example) can reach a temperature of up to 1,200 degrees during the explosion part," he said.
And that is why fireworks are never safe for young children -- including sparklers, according to the CPSC.
In a special study, CPSC found that most non-fatal injuries occurred to the fingers, hands, head, eyes and legs.
According to the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner website, many of the injuries occur during a four-week period surrounding Independence Day. In Georgia, wire or wood sparklers, other non-explosive and non-aerial sparkling items, snake glow worms, trick noise makers that include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops are legal.
However, on post all fireworks except sparklers are banned, Lowell said.
When using fireworks, people should be at least 12-15 feet away from where the fireworks are ignited, Lowell said. In case of an injury, such as a burn or getting debris in the eyes, use cool water on the injury and call 911.
Clean up the area after firework use, Lowell said. Used fireworks still run hot or may explode. The best way to cool them off is to put them in a metal pail with cool water. This prevents accidents from occurring. Cases reported to the CPSC said young children were injured after picking up fireworks off the ground that were lit or still hot.
Here are some other tips from the CPSC on how to keep you and others safe:
•Young children should not play with fireworks, including sparklers because of their high temperature.
•Older children should be supervised by adults and not allowed to run or horseplay while holding fireworks.
•Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, or grass and other flammable materials.
•Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
•Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
•Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
•Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
•Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
•Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
•Check instructions for special storage directions.
•Observe local laws.
•Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
•Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.