Fireworks are a staple for Fourth of July celebrations in the U.S. The thrill of fireworks, however, can be dangerous. So while SCM believes the easiest way to avoid injury is to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals, we know the Fourth of July wouldn’t be the same for some people without hosting their own display. Follow these fireworks safety tips to help you and your family enjoy the holiday injury-free.
What are the dangers of fireworks?
If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns and eye injuries in kids, adults and even pets. The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home — period. Attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals. Even if they are legal in your area doesn’t mean that they are safe.
If you or your family are around anyone using fireworks, always follow these safety tips:
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
The Dangers Of Sparklers
Every year, young children can be found along parade routes and at festivals with sparklers in hand, but sparklers are a lot more dangerous than most people think.
Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.
Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.
As Americans, we feel a sense of pride as the 4th of July rolls around. Independence Day is a holiday to celebrate our country’s freedom and with all of the chaos around the world, it serves as a great opportunity for Americans to come together and embrace our country’s past, present and future. Unfortunately, our animals don’t quite feel the same and would probably give July 4th “two paws down”.
In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, which fill up quickly with animals who panic and flee the bright lights and loud noises of holiday celebrations. Make the 4th a pet-riotic holiday by taking some time to protect your fur children from the dangers this holiday poses to them.
A friend and client of SCM, Sage Veterinary Center, wrote a great blog with tips to keeping our pets safe and comfortable this holiday. Check out their blog below as well as some other useful links.
Keeping Your Pets Safe This 4th of July! – Sage Veterinary Center
4th of July Safety Tips – ASPCA
How to help someone who is injured
Most injuries caused by fireworks require medical assistance. There are some things you can do quickly to reduce harm.
For minor burns
- STOP, DROP and ROLL or smother flames with a blanket.
- Apply cool (not ice cold) water to the burn for five minutes or until pain subsides.
For major burns
- Call 911 for emergency medical help.
- Don’t remove burned clothing.
- Don’t immerse large severe burns in cold water.
- Check for signs of breathing and movement; if none, begin CPR.
- Elevate the burned body part or parts; if possible, raise above heart level.
- Cover the person with a dry blanket as the victim is likely going into shock.
For blast injuries
- All blast injuries should be immediately treated by medical professionals. Call 911 for transportation to the nearest emergency room.
Fireworks are meant to be enjoyed, but you’ll enjoy them much more knowing your family and pets are safe! SCM wishes everyone a safe and happy 4th!