Editor In Chief
Our nation turns 238 years old this Friday and over the past two centuries Americans have made many traditional pastimes part of Independence Day, such as grilling, boating, camping, and setting off fireworks. With these activities, accidents can happen, and knowing what to do when they occur can safe a life.
The most common accidents that happen over the Fourth of July are those involving fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The Commission found that of all injuries reported that involve fireworks, the most common parts to be injured are the head (22 percent) and the hands/ fingers (36 percent).
To avoid being part of the statistic, the CPSC states that you should never let children play with fireworks unattended. This includes lesser-perceived as dangerous fireworks such as snap-pops and even sparklers, which can burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees, capable of melting metal.
The CPSC also states that you should never try to relight a “dud” or a firework that did not ignite. When firework shells are “spent” or determined to be not a threat, be sure to douse them throughly with water, and then place them in a flame-retardant garbage pail well away from any dwellings or flammable material. Some of the chemicals that are used to make fireworks can still be highly flammable after detonation, and in some cases, parts of a firework may not have detonated fully.
When lighting fireworks, make sure you have a clear area and a bucket of water on hand or a running hose in case of accidents. Watch for houses, and other obstacles, such as trees, which may start a fire if a firework is rocketed into them.
It is also advised to not purchase or attempt to set off fireworks bound in brown paper, as they are typically for professional pyrotechnicians to use in displays and may be dangerous in the hands of the unexperienced. Watch for the types of fireworks you buy at the various outlets, and be sure to ask questions if you do not know what a certain firework does, or how it is supposed to be detonated.
Always make sure that fireworks are legal for the area in which you live. In many cities, there are ordinances in place that state when you can or cannot light fireworks. Call your local fire marshal, or check online to make sure you are able to light fireworks.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety urges firework enthusiasts to keep alcohol consumption for after the show. Of the above reported incidents for the CPSC, a majority of them involved alcohol consumption.