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Safety Article Blog: Fourth, Fireworks, and Injuries

Happy 4th of July!  This year the Potter’s will celebrate our nations independence by cooking out with family and friends.  When the sun goes down we will all line up and watch the professional fireworks.  In my younger days and my children were home I would go to the fireworks stand and buy the Super-duper Bonus Pack for $199.00.  With a little prompting I could be talked into purchasing the next level for $49.00 more dollars.  I’m not sure it was about celebrating or blowing something up.

According to my research, during the month around the 4th of July approximately 200 people per day show up at the emergency with firework-induced injuries.  Of the injuries that occur 17% are to the eyes, 17% to head, face and ears, 4% to arms, 5% to the torso, and 46% to hands and fingers.  This accounts for the injuries to flesh and blood.

 

 

Here are some other facts and figures (from NFPA):

  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,8000 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 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; 61% of 2011 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19, and adults 25-44 in an atypical year of a very comparable risk across much of the population.

On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

Fireworks can be fun and we certainly have something to celebrate.  But a trip to the emergency room can ruin everything.  Don’t set yourself, friends and family up for injuries, reduce the risk by recognizing the hazards and mitigating the risk.

Here are some tips (from CPSC):

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Don’t let young children play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Don’t buy fireworks packaged in brown paper, this can be a sign that they are made for professional displays, and posing a danger to consumers.
  • Have sensible adults supervising fireworks activities. Many people don’t realize that young children can be seriously injured with sparklers. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees F,  hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Don’t place any your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance after lighting fireworks.
  • Don’t attempt to re-light or pick up fireworks that failed to ignite.
  • Don’t point or throw fireworks at people, animals, building, or dry grass.
  • Maintain a water source (bucket of water, garden hose, etc.) for fires or other accidents that occur.
  • Ignite fireworks one at a time.
  • Don’t put fireworks your pocket.
  • Once the firework is spent, douse the device with water from a bucket or hose before disposing it in a trash can or bag.
  • Check local laws in the area where you are using fireworks to prevent controversy with the law.

 

Use these tips to mitigate the risk and enjoy your celebration!

 

By Carl Potter, CSP

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