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Fireworks safety and you

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Photo: Oscarhill/iStockphoto

Setting off your own fireworks may not seem like a big deal, but do you know how many people are injured every year using them?

“Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2019,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

That year, between June 21 and July 21, an estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms, according to the CPSC. Of those, 36% were to children younger than 15.

“An estimated 900 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets,” the CPSC says.

It’s safest by far to leave the fireworks displays to the professionals. But if you’re going to buy your own, the National Safety Council has tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks. Older children should use them only under close adult supervision.
  • Never use fireworks while using alcohol or drugs.
  • Wear protective eyewear if you’re handling or standing nearby fireworks.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Don’t light fireworks indoors. They should be lit away from people, houses and flammable material.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Only light one firework at a time, and maintain a safe distance after lighting it.
  • Never light fireworks in a container.
  • Don’t try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.
  • Never use illegal fireworks.

“Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the fireworks show,” the NSC says.

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