Safely celebrating Independence Day with fireworks
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Lots of Oklahomans enjoy celebrating America’s Independence Day holiday with colorful fireworks. Following a few easy safety precautions will help ensure accidents and injuries do not dampen the fun.
“Fireworks are bright, loud and festive. It’s easy to forget they also can be dangerous, including potentially causing serious burns and eye injuries,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer and housing specialist.
Before buying or using fireworks, families should make sure it is legal to possess and discharge them in their area.
Young children should not be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks and an adult should always supervise older kids’ use.
“Even sparklers can cause injuries. Parents don’t realize these fireworks burn at about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals,” Peek said.
When lighting fireworks, avoid holding any part of the body directly over the device. Once the fuse is lit, quickly back away to a safe distance. Also, avoid pointing or throwing fireworks at or near other people.
Do not try to relight a firework that does not fully ignite.
“Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of fire or accident,” Peek said. “Once you’re finished shooting fireworks, thoroughly douse them with water before throwing them away. This will help reduce the chance of fire breaking out in the trash.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 250 people visit hospital emergency rooms daily for fireworks related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
The CPSC reported more than 69 percent of fireworks related injuries were burns, with hands and fingers, as well as heads, faces and ears being the most injured body parts.
For more information on fireworks safety, contact the nearest county Extension office.
Story by Leilana McKindra