• Judith Wallace

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. But, the excitement of fireworks can also bring pain, disfigurement and even death. An estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments from mid-June to mid-July in 2019. Of these, 36% were children under the age of 15. Additionally, national statistics show that bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers and illegal or homemade fireworks are associated with the most severe or fatal injuries.

Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries or loss of fingers. You can help prevent fireworks-related injuries and deaths.

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

· Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

· Small fireworks are not necessarily less dangerous than large ones. Many people think that sparklers are a “safe”, fun firework for children. However, sparklers burn at an extremely high heat of 1,200 degrees F – hot enough to melt some metals. The sparks can cause burns and eye injuries. More than half of the fireworks injuries to children under the age of 5 are caused by sparklers.

· Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children can easily suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals. Glow sticks may be a better choice.

· 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 sparks and to douse used or spent fireworks before touching or discarding.

· Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

· Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

· After fireworks (including sparklers) 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 them or using them. State laws vary. Pennsylvania residents are legally allowed to purchase — and set off Class C fireworks, also known as "consumer grade" fireworks. It is NOT legal for consumers to use professional grade fireworks. Class C includes firecrackers, Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar products. Fireworks cannot contain more than 50 milligrams of explosive material, according to the 2017 PA law.

Have fun on as you celebrate July 4th, but...Be Safe and Be Well!

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