Don’t let a fireworks injury take the bang out of your Fourth

It’s almost the Fourth of July; the day on which we celebrate America’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence. 

It’s a holiday that goes hand-in-hand with fireworks, but it’s also a time in which thousands of Americans — many of them children — are injured because of careless or incorrect fireworks use.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission,  an average of 240 people “go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.”

Image courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

The National Fire Protection Association  states that in “In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries.”

 The NFPA goes on to say that “far more U.S. fires are reported [on July 4th] than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.”

It makes sense, then, to follow a few simple tips from The Red Cross this year:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

As you celebrate Independence Day, please stay safe — and leave the fireworks shows to the experts.