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Firework Safety 101

Written by S.O.

Posted on July 3, 2015 at 2:33 am

With the celebrations of the Fourth of July come spending time with family and soaking up the sun, donning your Red, White and Blue, and playing with fire. Yes, playing fire.. quite an extreme risk. Before you and your family dabble with the flames of fireworks and sparklers, make sure that everyone is informed on their firework safety.

When fireworks are not handled the proper way, they can lead to severe burns and hand and eye injuries. And unfortunately it is not only your own health that might suffer from fireworks, it is important to watch out for your pets, as loud firecrackers and fireworks can damage their eardrums!

The best way to avoid running into problems with fireworks is to avoid them altogether. Try a local fireworks show where trained professionals handle the fire, not you. Despite the fact that fireworks are dangerous, they are even illegal in some areas of the United States. It is important to check your local laws to determine if igniting the fireworks is a good idea.

If fireworks are legal to light, make sure that you purchase fireworks that have been produced legitimately. Legal fireworks can typically be identified by a manufacturers label while illegal ones tend to lack branding and usage directions. Illegal fireworks go by the names of M-80s, M100s, a blockbuster, or a quarterpounder. Explosives that have these names were banned back in 1966, but many are still sold illegally without many buyers ever recognizing the difference. However, these types of fireworks account for the majority of firework injuries.

It is important to light fireworks in a space far from others. Small fireworks are unpredictable and tend to shoot off in many unforeseen directions. Never point a firework at someone or stand close, as they can move rapidly and unexpectedly. Definitely not something to joke around with.

Watch out for sparklers, they are fun but risky. As a child, sparklers were my favorite of fireworks. The proximity to the flame and the beauty of the spark is adrenaline-inducing. If you give kids a sparkler, be sure to be extra cautious. They are a type of firework that is held in close proximity to the body. Startlingly enough, sparklers can reach temperatures of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some of the harder elements.

The best way to fight fire is water, so be sure to use fireworks outside and have an ample water source nearby in case of emergency. Before disposing of fireworks, soak them in water to ensure that the flame has been put to rest. Never relight a dud firework, because they typically don’t go off the first time for a reason. Also, never let children touch pieces of fireworks after an event. There is no telling if some may still be ignited, and explode at any given time.

Because fireworks can shoot in wild directions, be cognizant of your surroundings. Point fireworks away from buildings and keep the ignited substance away from flammable objects like leaves, brush, and clothing. It is estimated that the National Fire Protection Association responds to more than 50,000 emergencies caused by fireworks every Fourth of July.
When lighting a firework, watch for loose ends of clothing that could easily catch. Additionally, keep all body parts away from the flame – back away quickly after lighting!

If you or a loved one are injured by a firework and don’t know where to turn for health attention on a holiday, DocChat is here for you! We are available all hours of the day on the Fourth of July. In the unhappy circumstance that a firework hurts you or someone you know, seek medical attention immediately. If the damage is in the form of an eye injury, do not touch or rub the area, as it can damage the eye even more. Despite common knowledge, do not flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any topical creams or ointments on the area. Wait for medical instruction from a potential. If the injury is a burn, run cool water over the burn. Do not use cold water or ice as it could damage the reformation of the skin, which is already tender and vulnerable.

Fireworks are a Fourth of July staple, but enjoy them with these helpful tips in mind. Fireworks should not lead to disaster and injury this holiday. Take precautionary measures when literally “playing with fire” for your health’s sake!

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