With the 4th of July just around the corner, it is time to think about firework safety. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2000 about 11,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. About 55 percent of the injuries were burns, and most of the injuries involved the hands, eyes and head. About half of the victims were under 15 years of age.
Safety tips for public fireworks displays:
* Obey all ushers or monitors and respect safety barriers to allow the trained operator room to safely do his job. Resist any temptation to get close to the actual firing site. The best view of the fireworks is from a quarter of a mile or more away.
* Although rare, a firework component might fall to the ground unexploded. If you find any, do not touch it – immediately contact the local fire or police department.
* Leave pets home. Dogs especially have very sensitive ears and the booms and bangs can be quite uncomfortable. In fact, the noises can actually injure their ears.
* Leave your own fireworks at home. Sparklers, fountains and other items that many states allow for private use are not appropriate to use when a large crowd is present.
Safety tips for home fireworks displays:
* Buy fireworks only from licensed outlets. Follow package directions. Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.
* Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
* Never allow young children (or childish adults!) to play with fireworks, not even sparklers. Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay.
* Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry foliage and flammable materials. Keep a bucket of water nearby. Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
* Wear safety glasses when lighting fireworks. Light one firework at a time, then move back quickly. Never stand over fireworks when lighting. Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
* Do not fire off aerial fireworks in windy conditions. Never ignite fireworks in any kind of container.
* Never experiment with homemade or altered fireworks.
* Never carry fireworks in your pocket, point or throw fireworks at people or animals, or use fireworks as weapons.
* Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them.