Having a Blast, Safely

What would July 4th be without fireworks…besides quiet? As the sun sets on America’s birthday, for many people the fun is just beginning.

A recent report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reveals that fireworks were involved in an estimated 9,800 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms during 2007. About 64 percent of all fireworks-related injuries took place around the Indepedence Day holiday (between June 22 and July 22, 2007) and more than 40 percent of those injuries occurred to children and teenagers. The top three injury-causing fireworks were firecrackers, sparklers and rockets.

Consumer Fireworks
The CPSC, with the National Council on Fireworks Safety, offers these tips for the safe use of consumer fireworks. First, only buy from an established retail outlet, never experiment with homemade fireworks and always follow the directions on the label. Second, only use fireworks outdoors, never light more than one at a time and move away from it quickly – never attempt to relight a “dud.” Third and finally, have a responsible adult in charge, never give fireworks to children and keep a bucket of water handy to douse fireworks to dispose of them properly.

Public Fireworks Displays
While chances of injury from a public fireworks display are slim according to the CPSC report, following a few guidelines can make the show safe and enjoyable for everyone. Respect monitors and ushers as well as any safety barriers set up, resist the temptation to get a closer look, leave consumer fireworks including sparklers at home and if any part of a firework falls to the ground, do not touch it. Lastly, keep pets far from fireworks displays of any kind and safe inside the house. The loud noises can hurt sensitive ears and scare animals, prompting even the most docile pet to behave erratically or run away.

Written by Leigh-Anne Dennison.

(photo courtesy of Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton)