June is National Firework Safety Month

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2017

June is National Firework Safety Month, an awareness campaign sponsored by Prevent Blindness America that is observed from June 1 through July 4. Americans across the country typically celebrate the Fourth of July by enjoying fireworks displays at sundown. While fireworks are an American tradition, and many families enjoy these festive celebrations of our nation’s independence, it’s vital to recognize the dangers fireworks present.

California’s Fire Risks

Many parts of southern California are highly susceptible to brush fires. Inland California is very dry, and small fires can quickly escalate into huge conflagrations that put homes and lives at risk. It’s not uncommon for California residents living in areas with high fire risks to evacuate due to large-scale fires. While fireworks are fun and exciting, it’s best to leave fireworks displays to professionals. There are some commercially available fireworks you may want to purchase for your friends and family to enjoy during your private celebrations. However, “safe” fireworks, such as sparklers, can still cause serious injuries, especially to children.

Possible Firework Injuries

Fireworks, even small, seemingly harmless ones, can cause significant damage and injuries. Although many children enjoy sparklers and adults assume they’re safe, these fireworks burn at temperatures as high as 3000F. Sparklers can cause severe burns or even cause clothing to catch fire.

Some fireworks are explosive devices, and illegal fireworks such as M-80s and cherry bombs are incredibly dangerous. Illegal fireworks are not regulated, and they do not pass through any type of quality control system. Although it may seem tempting to see what illegal fireworks can do, it’s always best to avoid them. It’s not worth the risk of injury or the trouble with the law, should law enforcement discover you’re in possession of illegal fireworks.

Many fireworks are capable of serious damage and injuries, including:

  • Burns. Different fireworks have different fuse times and other characteristics that put users at risk for suffering burns. When using legal fireworks, carefully follow the provided directions and keep a bucket of water or an extinguisher nearby, just in case.

  • Eye injuries. Some fireworks shoot bursts of sparks or project clusters of smaller fireworks into the air. At the wrong angle or during high winds, these projectiles can strike bystanders and cause significant injury, including blindness.

  • Explosive injuries. Some larger or artillery-style fireworks can suddenly explode, injuring those nearby. Again, illegal fireworks are dangerous due to their explosive nature, so avoid these products. Additionally, make sure there are no explosive hazards, such as gasoline canisters, grills, electronics, or anything else that may cause an explosion if exposed to fire, near the area where you are lighting or setting off fireworks.

  • Hearing loss. Many fireworks explode with loud bangs and can damage hearing. If you plan on setting off fireworks, wear ear plugs to help protect your hearing.

Safety Tips

This Fourth of July, take care to protect yourself and those around you. Before your festivities, make sure the area where you plan to light your fireworks is clear of debris and anything that could ignite. Additionally, prepare some supplies including a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bucket of water, and protection for your ears and eyes.

Only light fireworks outdoors in open areas, and never allow children to handle fireworks. If you encounter any duds, do not attempt to relight them. Instead, toss them into your bucket of water so they don’t unexpectedly explode or touch lit fireworks. A final tip to help keep you safe this Fourth of July is to never mix fireworks and alcohol. Do not handle or attempt to light fireworks after consuming alcohol, and do not allow anyone who seems inebriated to do so either.

 

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