With Independence Day right around the corner, we look forward to traditions such as barbecues, rodeos, parades, swim parties, and fireworks. The 4th of July always brings a lot of fun and great memories. Fireworks have always been a part of the 4th of July tradition, but there are safety concerns that should always be considered.
In 2010, hospital emergency rooms in the United States treated an estimated 8,600 people for firework-related injuries. 73 percent of these injuries occurred between June 18 and July 18. The risk of firework injury is highest for children ages 5-14 years of age. The body parts most often injured were the hands, fingers, and face, and more than half of the injuries were burns. In addition, more than 80% of these emergency room visits involved legal fireworks.
The best protection is to not use fireworks at home. Families can attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting of fireworks to the professionals. If, however, you are going to light fireworks at home, keep in mind the following safety tips:
- Buy only legal fireworks. You will know they are legal because they will have a label with manufacture name and directions on the package.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Always use fireworks outside with a bucket of water and hose nearby.
- Don’t hold fireworks in your hand and don’t carry them in your pocket
- Light only one firework at a time.
- Point fireworks away from people, homes and foliage.
- Don’t get too close and don’t relight a firework that did not go off the first time.
- Soak used fireworks overnight in a bucket before throwing them away.
- This year there is a high fire danger in Utah and many cities across the west. Please check restrictions in your local area and use good judgement.
Consumer fireworks also include sparklers. If you are like our family, we have considered sparklers something all ages can enjoy. That is not the case. Sparklers will burn at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Let me put that number into perspective: Water boils at 212 °F; a cake bakes at 350 °F; wood burns at 575 °F; and glass melts at 900 °F.
In other words, a sparkler at 1200 °F is hot enough to easily cause third degree burns. As a result, sparklers should be taken very seriously, and they should not be used by children. They can be dangerous at any age with the potential to cause significant harm.
Firework traditions on the 4th of July are fun and exciting! They are a great way to top off a memorable day. It is important, however, to remember these steps and precautions whenever you are dealing with fire. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday.