As we stated yesterday, June and July are slated as “National Fireworks Safety Month.” Probably there are many “eager beavers” out there that are already stocking up on fireworks. Because of drought conditions in many parts of the country, fireworks will be banned. Please observe warnings from county/city officials.
Judy Comoletti, National Fire Protection Association’s Division Manager of Public Education, states: “Fireworks are dangerous and unpredictable, especially in the hands of amateurs. The few seconds of pleasure those fireworks may bring are not worth risking injury, permanent scarring, or even death.” Wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. (Haven’t we had enough wildfires already?) Fireworks-related fires have typically caused at least $20 million in property loss each year for recent years. Bottle rockets or other types of rockets are some of the main causes of structure fire property loss.
Dr. John Hall, NFPA’s Division Manager of Fire Analysis and Research says, “when things go wrong with fireworks, they go very wrong, very fast, far faster than any fire protective provisions can reliably respond.”
We mentioned yesterday that more than 8,000 Americans spent part of the July 4th in emergency rooms because of fireworks injuries. Contusions, lacerations and foreign bodies in the eye, in addition to permanent loss of vision are just part of the injuries caused by fireworks. However, 1,600 eye injuries tells us that the sight of shooting off fireworks for a few minutes’ thrill is not worth gambling on your vision, or hurting any other part of the body.
Fireworks must be treated with respect, if you plan to shoot them off. Read all the warnings and cautions and use common sense. As we said earlier, if there is a burn ban, forget it. If you should see someone misusing fireworks, stop them. Do not let children under 12 handle sparklers. Fireworks and alcohol don’t mix; have a “designated shooter.”
Most people do not want to risk losing a home that they have worked their life for by playing around with fireworks. Public fireworks displays are one of the safest alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July. Conducted by trained professionals, these displays are the safest and smartest fireworks alternative for anyone, because they are established under controlled settings and regulations. After these displays or any other time, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, because they could discharge by still being active. Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks.
Facts worth repeating (in case they haven’t all been mentioned):
- More fires are reported in the U.S. on July 4th than any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires, more than any other cause of fire.
- In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires, including 1,300 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in no reported civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries, and $38 million in direct property damage.
- In 2009, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 for fireworks related injuries; 53% of 2009 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.
- The risk of fireworks injuries was highest for children ages 10-14, with more than twice the risk for the general population.
- Few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death, permanent scarring, loss of vision, dismemberment that could result.
- Amateur fireworks use endangers not only the users, but also bystanders and surrounding property and structures.
One look at all the wildfires that are happening throughout the country easily displays the devastation that one spark can cause. How about giving our firefighters a break this year? There are some spectacular live fireworks shows on television, and with the HD quality of the pictures you see, pop some popcorn and watch it at home. That way you won’t have to fight the mosquitoes or traffic! Have a safe one! P.S. Please keep Fido in a safe place (on the couch with you), or in a room where the noise won’t frighten him. Animals are more sensitive to noise, so keep that in mind. For all they know, the popping sounds could be guns. Thanks.
Source: NFPA, Firewise.org