Be safe this Independence Day

Exercise caution around all types of fireworks, no matter how small. Photo: Silberchen

Every year in the United States, we celebrate the Fourth of July with community parades, picnics, barbecues, and fireworks – the things of which happy memories are made. But sadly, Independence Day also brings on tragic events resulting from the use of fireworks.

One reason injuries occur is that, in spite of federal regulations and varying state prohibitions, many types of fireworks are still accessible to the public. Distributors often sell fireworks near state borders, where laws prohibiting sales on either side of the border may differ.

Injuries also result from being too close to fireworks. Bottle rockets can fly into peoples’ faces and cause eye injuries. Sparklers can ignite clothing (sparklers burn at much more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit). And firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.

Further, children are often excited and curious around fireworks, which can increase their chances of being injured.

To avoid injury this Fourth of July, follow these fireworks safety tips:

  • Don’t use any fireworks at home — period. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.
  • Don’t allow kids to play with fireworks. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit— hot enough to melt gold.
  • Steer clear of others — fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction. Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.
  • Do not pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
  • Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July. Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they’ll run loose or get injured.

Observing these guidelines will help ensure that everyone has a happy and safe summer holiday.